Following the Laity Address, Robert Upchurch, the Conference Lay Leader for the past quadrennium, was recognized by Bishop Goodpaster, and introduced the speakers speakers for the Report of the Laity.
Neil Brown, President of the United Methodist Men of Western North Carolina, led off the speakers. Bishop Goodpaster interrupted his speech, to recognize the national award that the United Methodist Men received in March. Our Conference organization was recognized as being the top organization in the connection. He reported on upcoming events and opportunities for local churches and United Methodist Men’s groups. PowerPoint Presentation
Ryan Clark, a youth from Zion United Methodist Church, a recent high school graduate, gave the report of the Conference Council of Youth Ministry. He ended is address with these words: “Everyone needs to be shown the grace and love of God. No matter what our age, it’s up to all of us to ‘make disciples of all nations,” of all people and to ‘teach them to obey’ the words of Christ. When we do this, we transform the world. This is what CCYM has set out to do, and this is what we as a church are supposed to do! Today let’s go, and make disciples!”
Robert Upchurch followed with the introduction of Ms. Jane Boatwright Wood, the Executive Director of the Foundation for Evangelism, and the new Conference Lay Leader for the 2016-2020 quadrennium.
Then the Board of Laity surprised Upchurch with a recognition at the end for his years of service as Lay Leader.
The morning session included several other items of business:
The Harry Denman Award, in recognition of exceptional evangelism, was given to Luke Edwards of King Street Church. See Video
Dennis Carroll of Jamestown UMC and Provost at High Point University presented the Francis Asbury Award to Rev. Preston Davis, Chaplain at High Point University. He mentioned this in his remarks: “Anything we have done has been in partnership with the students in particular…I am grateful to them and ‑‑ raising up leaders in the church today, tomorrow. Thank you, I share this with you and I am deeply grateful.”
The Call & Vocation Team led by Rev. Sally Queen and Rev. Jim Parsons presented a shorter version of their report (this report was postponed from Thursday afternoon). They spoke of their work with persons answering the call to ministry. Queen ended the presentation with these words: “If we leave Lake Junaluska tomorrow and go back into our communities and places we live and serve, might we live out God’s call to ministry because that truly is what will transform our world. What ever your name is, you are called.”
The Order of Deacons celebrated their 20th anniversary this year. Rev. Michelle Foster-Beckerleg and Rev. Brad Potter spoke to the success of this work, and the major contribution of deacons to ministry throughout the entire conference. Potter summed up the work of a deacon in this quote:
“The deacon is distinctive in their calling in that we have the privilege of offering servant leadership and ministries of compassion and justice. The establishment of the order of deacon provide the opportunity for clergy to offer leadership in ways that connect the church in the world. Essentially operating as a bridge with the privilege of interpreting the concerns and needs of the world to the local church and being able to lead the church ministries of comp passion. Doing this in a variety of ways within the local church and actually beyond the walls of the church as well.”
A video was prepared for the celebration- view video.
Rev. Amy Coles handled the cabinet resolutions related to the closing of churches found on pages 38-39 in the supplement. There was one extra church added to the list that did not make the publishing deadline. Burgess Chapel UMC in the Appalachian District will be officially closed effective July 16, 2016. These five petitions were adopted.
After a few announcements, the business side of conference ended, and we conclude this year’s meeting with the Celebration of Life and the Ordination Service on Saturday, and Closing Worship on Sunday morning.