During Wednesday’s Plenary Session, Bishop Fairley and his wife,
Dawn, were welcomed by Emily Innes representing the Committee
on Episcopacy. The sacrifices that they are making to serve three
annual conferences were recognized and appreciated. Rev. Gray
Southern offered a prayer for our episcopal family.
Southern also recognized and thanked Rev. Jerry Bryan for his
decades of service as our Conference Secretary and expressed
gratitude for the whole Conference secretarial team.
Conference Lay Leader John Hall shared some of the good
things that happened in our conference as we continued in active
ministry in the midst of a global pandemic. The Annual Conference
dispersed $2.7M in COVID grants to 635 churches.
Rev. Liz Roberts spoke of the importance of campus ministry
and challenged us to connect graduating high school students
to Wesley Foundations as they head to college in the fall. These
personal connections to campus ministers could be the key
to keeping these young adults engaged spiritually. She asked
churches to share the names of students with the campus ministry
team so that they could be contacted by the Wesley team at their
college and also be entered into a drawing for one of eight $500
college scholarships. Everyone was invited to join the campus
ministers for a fun basketball challenge Friday night during the ice
Rev. Dr. Edgardo Colón-Emeric, Dean of Duke Divinity School,
brought greetings from the faculty and students and shared how
personally and professionally grateful he is for the NC Conference,
where he preached his first sermon and was ordained. Duke
Divinity School wants its students to develop an entrepreneurial
mindset in a Wesleyan spirit.
Rev. Kristen Richardson-Frick from The Duke Endowment
brought greetings via video and shared the endowment’s focus
on supporting leaders, reimagining church real estate, building
congregational capacity, and identifying and testing selected
programs. She highlighted rural churches that are hosting a
summer literacy program to avoid learning loss including Salem
UMC in Eastover, West Nash UMC in Wilson, and Seaside UMC in
We closed the afternoon session with the district superintendents
sharing where God is at work in their districts and highlighting
some of the mission and ministry opportunities churches have had
in the past year.