On Thursday afternoon, the lay members of Annual Conference gathered for laity executive session. After a time of singing, Conference Lay Leader Gary Locklear greeted the full room of laity. He introduced the Conference Board of Laity while reminding the group of this quadrennial theme, “From Strength to Strength” and the 2016 theme – Give. Steve Taylor, Director of Connectional Ministries, prayed, calling the laity to show love and to shine a light as they live in God’s way of being.
A report from UMM President, Paul Wilson, exemplified the UMM’s mission of making disciples of men. As Wilson remarked, “We are not just for breakfast anymore.” He went on to share some of the accomplishments of the UMM in local churches, including Jarvis Memorial UMC’s recognition as the third best UMM unit in the USA.
UMW President, JoAnn Barbour, spoke how the UMW of the conference shared how the UMW works with organizations in North Carolina to reduce human trafficking and mass incarceration. They also work to deepen the spiritual lives of women. She ended by issuing a challenge to all members to make the world a better place through their actions.
The Conference’s Home Missioners and Deaconesses were also recognized in the session, as their service remains vital to the Conference’s thriving lay ministry.
Christine Dodson, Conference Treasurer, thanked members for giving their time and energy as to attend Annual Conference. She provided an overview of Conference logistics, helping members to have a clearer understanding of how the business of the Conference operates. Jacob Blount brought a brief update from youth ministry and announced that Annual Conference 2016 set a record for youth attendance.