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2016 Louisiana Annual Conference

“AC2016: Rooted and Grounded” was held June 8-11 with more than 1,000 United Methodists from throughout Louisiana gathered in the Gold Dome at Centenary College in Shreveport.

During her episcopal address delivered the morning of June 9 during the Communion service held in the Gold Dome, Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey told conference members, “Our lives are entangled. Life causes us to become entangled. I don't know of anyone I would rather be entangled with but you.”

“It is because of our entanglement that we are stronger. It takes a different kind of leader to lead the church today. It takes an entrepreneurial leader that will not settle. Amazing things happen when we see things not as problems to be solved, but as opportunities to be seized,” added Bishop Harvey. Read the entire address here.

During the address, Bishop Harvey lifted up videos of five of this year's Wesley Award winners. The awards spotlight ministries around our state that embody the DNA of The United Methodist Church in Louisiana, “leading others to abundant life in Christ, engaging the community in significant ways, telling the Gospel story in creative ways, and seeking to reach new people.” The five winners featured in video and a list of additional Wesley Award winners can be found here.

During Thursday morning’s laity session held at First United Methodist Church in Shreveport, the Rev. Mike Slaughter, lead pastor of Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in Ohio and featured speaker for “AC2016: Rooted and Grounded,” told conference laity that they are his “heroes” and “she-roes.” “Clergy get paid. You do this because you love Jesus,” he said, getting a laugh from the audience. Slaughter also told AC2016 delegates during Thursday evening's worship in the Gold Dome, “Every miracle is part divine intervention and human responsibility… . Faith actions precede faith results. We have a part to play by acting on God's directive.”

Family, friends and the Louisiana Annual Conference watched the afternoon of June 9 as David and Elizabeth McCormick were recognized as new missionaries of The United Methodist Church during AC2016. Those gathered in the Gold Dome prayed for the McCormicks, who will move to Mozambique with their daughters Eva, 4, and Annie, 2. On May 19, along with 27 others, the McCormicks were commissioned in Portland, Oregon during the denomination’s 2016 General Conference. The husband and wife team — who are members of Grace Community United Methodist Church in Shreveport — have been assigned to Mozambique at the Chicuque Rural Hospital. David will serve as administrator for the hospital, and Elizabeth will serve as pharmacist for the medical facility.

During the Celebration of Ministry (ordination service) held the evening of June 10 at First United Methodist Church in Shreveport, Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey preached on the theme, “You Can Run, But You Cannot Hide.”

“We are far more together than we are apart,” Bishop Harvey said. “Tonight our clergy join in a special covenant. They covenant to stand close together, to get wrapped up in each other’s lives. They covenant to get ‘entangled.’” Read Bishop Harvey's ordination sermon here.

Five people were ordained elders and received into full connection with the conference during the Celebration of Ministry (ordination service). To view their ordination videos click here.

In addition, six were commissioned as provisional elders and 19 people were recognized as new local pastors.

Find pictures of the above mentioned groups and more pictures of exciting happenings at “AC2016: Rooted and Grounded” on the Conference Facebook page.

The Louisiana delegation to General Conference 2016 gathered in front of the annual conference, sharing their experiences and a GC2016 video wrap-up to the proceedings and events that took place in May.

Throughout AC2016, the 2016 clergy retirees of the Louisiana Conference were spotlighted through video messages played during the event. This year’s class of 28 has more than 700 combined years of service in ministry. Click here to view videos for those retirees who were available to be interviewed.  

In 1956, the General Conference granted full clergy rights for women. The Louisiana Annual Conference celebrated the 60-year anniversary of that event, as well as the 20 years of full clergy membership for deacons during AC2016.

During AC2016, it was announced that Project Transformation, a multi-pronged initiative focusing on transforming lives through relationships is coming to the Louisiana Conference. This leadership program for college students focuses on working with children in underserved areas, as college students join with conference churches to provide the children with academic and spiritual nourishment over the summer.

For the second year in a row, Lauren Hudson provided a graphic recording in chalk during Louisiana’s annual conference. Hudson, who has been serving as an intern for the LSU Wesley Foundation in Baton Rouge, is still basking in the excitement of providing her chalk recording at General Conference 2016 during Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey’s sermon the morning of May 16 in Portland, Oregon.

The traditional “Passing of the Mantle” service was held June 11 in the Gold Dome with the Rev. Steven Spurlock, current Lake Charles District Superintendent and 2016 clergy retiree, passing the mantle to the Rev. Marissa Teauseau, 2016 clergy ordinand.

The Rev. Don Cottrill, provost and 2016 clergy retiree, delivered the sermon for the Celebration of Life (formerly the memorial service.) To view names and pictures of those clergy and clergy spouses remembered in the service, click here.

Due to its success last year, there was an encore of the young adult gathering during this year’s event. Representatives of the group met before the annual conference to share their discussions and hopes for how they can play significant roles in the future of the mission of the Louisiana Conference.

The average age of the ordination class is 40.6 — the youngest is 27 and the oldest is 51. The average age of the commissioning class is 27.1 with the youngest being 24 and the oldest 31. 

Current membership stands at 118,194, down by 531 from last year.

Current worship attendance is 39,071, down by 693 from last year.

Current church school attendance is 14,290, down by 422 from last year.

The Scripture verse serving as the cornerstone for “AC2016: Rooted and Grounded” was Ephesians 3:14-21.

Source: Betty Backstrom, director of communications, Louisiana Conference