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2015 Western North Carolina Conference


The Western North Carolina Conference met June 17-21 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Lake Junaluska, N.C.  Bishop Larry Goodpaster, presided over this gathering with over 2000 registered members.

Our guest speakers for the week included:

  • Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and president of the South African Council of Churches
  • Bishop William T. McAlilly of the Nashville Area, Memphis and Tennessee Conferences
  • Rev. Kim Cape, top executive, United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry

Some memorable quotes from our speakers:

Siwa at opening worship: “And God does not look at the caterpillar we are now, but the dazzling butterfly we will become. God has put in each one of us, in all of his creation, a dazzling butterfly, and out of his deep love and grace he is waiting for the butterfly to break out of the caterpillar envelope and become alive. It is God doing it, and the invitation is that, we take off our dark glasses and see what God is doing, because God is doing it. “

Cape at commissioning service: “Be a lifelong learner. There's a reason Cokesbury had Wesley on a horse reading a book. He was an Oxford professor, he read seven languages, he told lay preachers if they didn't like to read don't bother being part of the circuit.”

McAlilly at ordination: Quoting Bishop Ken Goodson:  “ ‘I don’t remember the first time I was called; but I remember the last time! The last time I was called was this morning.’ … What about you? When was the last time you were called? Whether you remember or not when you were called, you were marked with a baptismal water and they flowed down your face and you have been inching toward ordination a long time.”

Elections for delegates to General and Jursidictional conferences were held beginning on Wednesday and concluding Friday evening.  Here are the delegations that were elected:

CLERGY, General Conference delegates: Kim Ingram, Amy Coles, David Christy, Ashley Crowder Stanley, In-Yong Lee, James Howell, Jeremy Troxler, Sam Moore, John Boggs, Jeff Patterson.

Southeastern Jurisdiction Conference delegates: Sally Queen, Shelly Webb, David Hockett, Angela Pleasants, Stephanie Hand, Lory Beth Huffman, Chris Westmoreland, Laura Beach, Dawn Hand, Jan Brittain.

Reserve delegates: Uiyeon Kim, Talbot Davis, Andy Lambert, Charles Kyker

LAITY, General Conference delegates: Jennifer Davis, Jennifer Burton, Lynne Gilbert, Coley Hooker, Jr., Amy Johnson, Shannon Sherfey, Sandy Hieronymus, Henry Dozier, Jr., Robert Upchurch, Tonya Lanier.

Southeast Jurisdiction Conference delegates: John Howard, Sarah McKinney, Andrew Woods, Neffie Connie Locklear, Cindy Thompson, Jane Boatwright Wood, Wade Loftin, Rey Rodriguez, Kathy FitzJeffries, Joseph Williams

Reserve delegates: Ann Aldridge, Fred Cantler, Harry Underwood, Rebekah Lisk

Resolutions discussed by the conference:

  • Resolution 20- Just Save One HIV and AIDS- capitalizing on World HIV/AIDS Day to emphasize United Methodist Global AIDS Fund in December 2015, including education and information to all United Methodists in Western North Carolina. ADOPTED.
  • Resolution 21- Promote Healthy Conversations- Under the bishop’s guidance, the Vision Alignment Team with the Justice and Reconciliation Team, shall collaborate to develop plans that lead, model, resource and cultivate holy conferencing and congregation roundtable study and conversations for the full participation of all. ADOPTED.
  • Resolution 22- Parsonage Home Inspections for Pastoral Transitions- Beginning in 2016, the Western North Carolina Conference will require that a church/charge undergoing a pastoral transition shall arrange and pay to have its parsonage inspected by a third-party licensed home inspector prior to the pastoral transition. ADOPTED.
  • Resolution 23- Removal of Language in ¶161 in The Book of Discipline- NOT ADOPTED.

Commissioning and Ordination:

Number of people ordained: two deacons, 26 elders
Commissioned: 28 (four provisional deacons, 24, provisional elders).

Average age: 38.18 years.

Some statistics:

Membership has declined less than 1 percent from the previous year and stands at 285,904.

Worship attendance stands at 113,711 each Sunday, down about two percent from the previous year. Professions of faith last year, 4284 compared with 4520 the year before.

70,280 persons engaged in mission last year (about 15,000 more than the previous year) and 74,431 adults in small groups. More than the year before.

The offerings taken on Wednesday evening and Sunday for Missional Faith Communities and Ministries totaled $51,105.16 dollars.

A complete look at the proceedings of the 2015 Annual Conference can be found at

Our next conference will meet June 15-19, 2016, at Lake Junaluska.

-Michael Rich, web and communications manager