2016 Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference
The Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference was held at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, June 9-11, 2016.
Presiding Bishop Peggy Johnson welcomed clergy and laity to the 232nd session of the Conference. Opening worship session began with the Act of Repentance service. Celebration commenced with “All Creatures of Our God and King” before the guest musician of the weekend, Michael Jacobs, shared a song to center the gathering for a time of repentance.
Bishop Johnson welcomed everyone and offered a Call to Repentance. A special Native American story was performed by Raggatha Rain Calentine, chair of the Committee on Native American Ministries.
John 1:1-5 was read before the introduction of the Rev. Thom White Wolf Fassett, who shared the message with all in attendance. Bishop Johnson led a responsive confession with the help of two Native Americans, the Rev. Shane Moran of Church Hill-Price Charge and boe harris of Seaford, Delaware.
The body was asked to tie a gray ribbon on the wrist of their neighbor to symbolize the ashes of repentance and a sign of confession. The Peninsula-Delaware cabinet members, as well as Bishop Johnson, read a statement that was adapted from the Council of Bishops’ statement to signify the continual work that lies ahead in the future.
A celebration of Communion and recessional to the song “Wonderful Words of Life " closed the opening worship session.
Memorable points or quotes by Rev. Eric H. F. Law, guest speaker:
“We need external relationships because they are resources. They have more to offer than you know right now!”
“Most people want to give; they just don’t know who to trust.”
“Being nonjudgmental is key because it’s in everything you do!”
“Six degrees of separation; three degrees of influence. Go and do what God has called you to do.”
“We have three degrees of influence — to friends of friends of friends. One hundred church people with 10 friends can influence over 10,000 people.”
Celebration of Ministry
At the Celebration of Ministry, fifth-year anniversaries of those ordained were recognized, those who were to be commissioned and ordained were presented, and those who were retiring at this session of the conference were honored.
Many of the retirees spoke to the conference by a video that had been prepared beforehand. Once again, the Rev. Jervis Cooke, at 96 the oldest living clergy member of the conference, was in attendance during the celebration and received a lengthy standing ovation for his service that amounts to more than 70 years.
After the general examination of deacon and elder, the passing of the mantle from our 12 retiring clergy to our new ordinand was complete. We also celebrated 60 years of the ordination of women with all the women clergy receiving tiaras.
The Peninsula-Delaware Commissioning and Ordination Service is steeped in tradition. The Clergy Festival Choir began to sing “Where Charity and Love Prevail.” Music, prayer, excitement and some mystery were all evident. Bishop Johnson offered the Word, and retired Bishops Felton Edwin May and Violet Fisher participated in the laying on of hands.
New provisional members are: The Rev. Robyn Scheina Brown, deacon. The new provisional elders are the Revs. Jacqueline Geraldine Davis Ford, Jacob Matthew Macklin and Amor Del Rosario Woolsey.
The Rev. Karen Riggleman Handy was ordained as an elder in full connection.
The conference was recognized for paying 100 percent of its general church apportionment for 30 consecutive years.
The Rev. Derrick Porter, Wilmington district superintendent, was nominated by the General Conference delegation and endorsed by the conference for the position of bishop.
Resolutions that were adopted:
- Establish conference Advance specials for 2107-2020.
- Resolution on Benjamin Coombes House as conference historical site.
- Recognition of the bicentennial of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
- Supporting the repeal of the death penalty in Delaware.
A resolution supporting local churches as gun free zones was tabled and a resolution to create study materials on LGBTQ issues was voted down.
Offerings at Annual Conference:
- Clergy Assistance Fund $2,356
- Youth Service Fund $1,580
- Africa University Athletic Field $9,800
- Central Congo Partnership $14,196
- BOOM Scholarships $11,131
Grand Total $39,063
The current membership is 78,284, down from 79,899 last year. Worship attendance is up to 30,403, an increase of 400. Church school attendance saw a big jump to 8,409 from 7,891. Amount given to missions was also higher, $647,436 from $441,027.
Source: Doug Lanter, communications coordinator, Peninsula-Delaware Conference