The Cabinet Report highlighted the ministries of the Annual Conference through what Bishop Ward called their “collegial leadership.” The Rev. Ken Locklear, as host district superintendent, spoke about the ministry of hospitality in the welcoming of Annual Conference participants, “Enter these doors as you would enter into a church, with God’s gracious welcome.” He charged lay and clergy members to take home the lessons of hospitality to grow their own congregations.
The Rev. Ray Broadwell, Fairway district superintendent and Dean of the Cabinet, spoke of the immersion of their work in prayer, seeking God’s will and God’s way for pastors and churches. As individuals’ names are lifted by the cabinet in the spring and in the fall, he pointed out that appointment-making is a process infused in prayer. Broadwell said, “be assured of our continuing prayers for you.”
The Rev. Linda Taylor, Sound district superintendent, speaking of the devastation of Hurricane Florence, pointed to God’s presence and the generosity of all God’s people as meeting the challenges of rebuilding. She lifted up the contributions of UMC agencies and volunteers.
The Rev. Randy Innes, Heritage district superintendent, celebrated the conference priority of addressing racism, noting that scripture defines it as both evil and unjust. He spoke of Dismantling Racism teams which help folks to wade in the water and learn and envision new ways to connect. He issued an invitation to attend the Second Crossroads Retreat, “Prophetic Living in a Broken World” in September in Whitakers, NC.
The Rev. Edith Gleaves, Harbor district superintendent, reported the success of the C4C program, launched in 2014 to support local public schools. “This children’s initiative has made a huge impact on children living in poverty in North Carolina,” as she reported, “. . . over 83% of North Carolina United Methodist Churches, both large and small, have embraced C4C and are reflecting the love of Christ by partnering with schools for three purposes: to improve K-3 literacy rates, provide basic needs, and to increase parent involvement.”
The Rev. Carol Goehring, Corridor district superintendent, pointed out that over 5,000 people have scheduled to help with rebuilding lives and structures following the “wallop” of Hurricane Florence. The participation and challenge of the youth to help raise $500,000 is well-served by the morning offering ($32,853.93) and its match by the Conference Finance and Administration. Further, she announced a reduction of apportionments and the completion of the payment of conference liability for pre-1982 retirement benefits.
Beacon district superintendent, the Rev. Gil Wise, described the ministry of the Church Transformation Ministry as one in which congregations engage in a journey to find the best path forward so that they may become healthy. He noted that healthy churches “build the kingdom of Christ and strengthen their community.” He spoke of the success of three congregations that entered into a year’s process of discernment and redevelopment, coming to use their building for community outreach or closing and investing the proceeds in new ministry.
The Rev. Dr. Gray Southern, Capital district superintendent, spoke of the ministry formed in new church starts in terms of “the marks of a faithful Methodist Christian” as regularly planning and re-launching new churches. He pointed out that every person in the room is a member of a new church, either in the past or the present. He noted that 18 new churches are being planned with 17 new church planters, as he encouraged specific actions by Conference members: pray for the extension of the church, work with lay and clergy leaders to plan or relaunch the new faith communities, to remember that when you give through the apportionment system, you pay for these new communities. He proudly announced that NC Conference is the denomination’s leader in planting new faith communities.