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2016 Missouri Annual Conference

Officiating bishop: Robert Schnase

Guest speakers: At Bishop Robert Schnase’s request, since this was his last year, all speakers were from Missouri United Methodist churches, and included the Revs. Bob Farr, Lynn Dyke, Ron Watts, Yvi Martin, Cody Collier and Matt Miofsky.

Memorable points or quotes by speakers:

The Rev. Elbridge Wesley Bartley Jr., was baptized during the 46th Session of the Southwest Missouri Conference in 1916 by Bishop Eugene Hendrix. This year he was back before the conference to be part of the baptism of Hannah Beaton, born February 4. She is the daughter of the Rev. Ron and Kasey Beaton. Bishop Schnase officiated the baptism, which was part of the opening worship service of annual conference session.

Director of Congregational Excellence Bob Farr was the preacher for Sunday morning worship. His sermon focused on the importance on churches going beyond basic hospitality and reaching out to people to establish an authentic connection. “Everybody is somebody, but the problem in a lot of our churches is that we act like we have to be one of us to be somebody,” he said.

Ozarks District Superintendent Lynn Dyke was the preacher for the Service of Sending Forth on the last day of Conference. She preached about the story of Samson with the riddle involving the honey and the lion. Dyke said those pastors who were about to move churches would face lions, as would the pastors who were staying at the churches where they are. She encouraged them to remember the goodness that can come from hard times. “That’s the promise of God – that’s the radical hospitality and love of God. It’s the resurrection story isn’t it? Out of the toughest moments of life come sweetness and hope and new life,” Dyke said.

Workshops and learning time included having a church that your kids will invite their friends to, what the scripture says about evangelism, faith and race, giving big for missions and prison ministry. Offerings were collected for Mozambique, the Haiti Clean Water Initiative and Restorative Justice.

Number of people ordained, commissioned or received into associate membership, and average age: 10 were ordained, with the average age of 41. 8 were commissioned, with the average age of 35.

Number of people retired: 24

Membership stands at 157,782, down 3,256 from the previous year.

Worship attendance stands at 74,879, down 2,405 from the previous year.

Church school attendance stands at 22,790, down 1,782.

Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2015 were 2,668, down 448 from 2014.

Adults and young adults in small groups for 2015 was 75,256, down 1,519 from 2014.

Worshippers engaged in mission for 2015 was 54,368, up 2,039 from 2014.

Fred Koenig, publications editor, Missouri Annual Conference.