After the lunch break on Friday, Annual Conference business resumed with the Strategic Vision Plan for 2016-2020.
Bishop Goodpaster reviewed his eight years as leader of the conference, the financial challenges of a changing economy and our mission to “Follow Jesus, Make Disciples, and Transform the World.” In the past eight years, the conference has attempted to align resources to keep the mission primary.
Rev. Amy Coles presented the success of the Missional Network emphasis that emerged in the conference over the past four years. The body heard reports of networks across the conference and stories of churches working together to serve Jesus in our schools, communities, and regions.
Persons sharing their stories from the floor included: Cindy Lunsford, George Coates, Lucy Robbins, Paul Brown and Nina Wynn. [PowerPoint Slides]
Coles then introduced the conference to the new leadership team that will begin service in July. Rev. Kim Ingram will continue as the Director of Ministerial Services, Caroline Wood will add to her current position and become the Director of Missional Engagement and Connectional Relationships. Dr. John Boggs will become the new Director Vital Discipleship.
The new Church Vitality Strategist (CVS) Team was introduced to the gathering. These persons will have responsibilities in the eight districts and work directly with the superintendent, and within the general work of the conference. These persons are: Stephanie Hand (Metro), Carroll Harris (Uwharrie), Maria King (Northern Piedmont), Tim Roberts (Appalachian), Sherrie Schork (Smoky Mountain), Kim Shockley (Catawba Valley), and Rene Wilt (Yadkin Valley).
Bishop Goodpaster then gave a further introduction to Dr. John Boggs, who took a few minutes to share his vision of his new role. He sees himself as a “Dreamer, Cultivator (disturber of the soil), Collaborator, Communicator.”
He reflected on the deep Wesleyan roots of revival that include “gracious accountability” while learning and partnering with visionary groups like Fresh Expressions US, the Missional Wisdom Foundation as well as seminaries and other Annual Conferences.
He said that his vision is to explore the relationship of the Baptismal Covenant and the General Rules of Methodism, stated this way:
To witness to Jesus Christ in the world and to follow his teaching
Through acts of compassion, justice, worship and devotion
Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Rev. Coles then introduced Dr. Lynn Sorrells, who will be beginning a new position as the Director of The Vitality Project. This position is funded through a grant from the Duke Endowment, and will focus on helping churches to become all that they are called to be. He introduced his associate, Rev. Angie Hollar who will assist with leadership. They will work together along with other partners to help increase the number of vital churches in the conference.
Rev. Rob Webb was introduced and gave the report of the Duke Endowment. He used the analogy of one of the riskiest plays in baseball- stealing home, to bring home the point that with some risks, come great rewards. He told the conference that what the Endowment wants to do is focus on making significant impacts, and focusing money on projects that will “steal home plate.”
Following his report, Laurie Guy, President of the Council of Finance and Administration brought their report to the conference. (The written reports can be found on pp. 16-22 of the Supplement). Petition 1 (p. 17-19) was presented to the conference (2017 Conference Funds and Financial Policies). It was adopted with no debate.
Then the 2017 budget (pp. 20-22 in the Supplement) was brought up for consideration. After some proposed amendments, discussion, and debate, the proposed budget of $16,404.665 dollars (a slight decrease from 2016) was adopted.
After a short break, Laurie Guy introduced Dr. Mark King as the new treasurer for the Western North Carolina Conference. King will move back to North Carolina and begin the job in July.
After a short break, the business resumed with a couple of items of business, and greetings from a guest from Cambodia who witnessed to Bishop Goodpaster’s leadership in Southeast Asia, we moved to an order of the day: The Committee on Episcopacy Report.
Rev. Mary John Dye, the chair of the committee led the conference in a celebration of the past eight years of Bishop Goodpaster’s service. Both he and his wife Deborah were honored with gifts and applause, and we greeted his daughter Amy and her family who came from Atlanta to share in the celebration. Their daughter Lucy was in Montgomery, AL celebrating through the livestream.
Rev. David Snipes announced that $70,000 dollars had been raised through an appeal for this retirement gift that will go to Imagine No Malaria. (The equivalent of saving 14,000 people from death and disease-many of the children).
Then a litany of thanksgiving, that included dozens of people building a pyramid of plants on stage, with the refrain: “Today we give thanks for Bishop Goodpaster.”
A final prayer over the Goodpaster family ended with a surprise visit by the Junaluska Singers who sang, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.”
A reception for the Goodpasters is scheduled for 7:30 pm on Friday evening between Stuart Auditorium and the Harrell Center.