After the morning’s bible study, we attended to business in the morning’s session. The session was filled with informing reports from various connectional ministries and several rounds of voting.
The 2015-16 New Faith Communities were recognized: a new Fayetteville campus of Crossroads UMC, Southeast Table (campus) of Edenton Street UMC, and North Campus of University UMC.
New Church Planning recognized a new church charter, Crossroads UMC of Fayetteville. Phillip Chryst of the Anchor was presented with an Impact 10 grant.
Ned Hill, chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry, spoke about how to improve effectiveness in ordained ministry. Members heard a report from the Seminary Debt Task Force. Laura Fine Ledford spoke about the Seminary Repayment Program. In order to offer support to clergy with debt, a Conference Seminary Debt Repayment Program has been established with a 1 million dollar endowment.
The Rev. Dr. Reggie Ponder shared more exciting news on seminary debt forgiveness. He honored two servants of the church, Jeff and Jean Davis, whose families have established an endowment to provide grants to clergy serving in the Fairway District in order to alleviate their debt, and these grants were presented.
The Rev. Larry Chandler shared with members in another Native American Ministry Moment. He shared how his experience at Sandy Plains UMC allowed him to embrace his own Native American heritage and answer the call to ministry. Trey Harris, pastor of Sandy Plains UMC, also shared of how the Native American Seminary Award allowed him to graduate from Duke Divinity in 2015. He thanked the Conference for their generosity and support.
Director of Connectional Ministries, Carol Goehring, introduced the mission of Connectional Ministries. Christine Harman provided information on the Conference Online Learning Ministry, which now has 400 registered users. She mentioned the variety of offerings in online courses.
Steve Taylor recognized the importance of the ministry of deaconesses and home missionaries and spoke about Mission Seed Funds. These encourage United Methodists to engage in hands-on ministry and bring Christ’s light into the world. We were reminded that mission is not an addendum to worship, it is worship.
Two action items from Connectional Ministries were approved. Members voted to approve a report from Safe Sanctuaries to include protection for vulnerable adults. Every church in the NC Conference will need to implement Safe Sanctuaries policies by Annual Conference 2016.
Carol Goehring shared about Disciple Making Way, also know as Shift, and how to enroll. She also recognized the Conference Communications team and their work on Every Day Grace TV.
Bill Hughes from the Kentucky Conference shared about some new ministries in our Annual Conference.
Carol Goehring was recognized for her faithful service as Director of Connectional Ministries, and Steve Taylor was welcomed as the new Director of Connectional Ministries.
Several clergy and laity votes were taken throughout the session, with the election of a few more General Conference delegates.