During General Conference 2016, we are going to feature delegate stories from our NC Conference delegates, so you can learn more about them and the committees they will be serving.
Here are the questions we asked:
- Tell us about how you came to know Jesus.
- Tell us about your committee.
- What do you feel is important for the NC Conference to know about your committee/role at GC?
- How does this affect the people in the pews?
Today, we have Beth Hood and Gary Locklear sharing their stories.
I came to know Jesus as a result of the faithful ministry of the people of Carrboro United Methodist Church in the Corridor District of the NC Conference. They took seriously the vows spoken at my baptism when they pledged to “do all in their power to increase my faith, confirm my hope, and perfect me in love.” The saints there taught me the stories of Jesus, invited me to receive him as my Savior, confirmed me as a disciple, encouraged me to use my gifts in service, and participated in my discernment of a call to ordained ministry. I am forever grateful!
I am one of 76 delegates serving on the General Conference Legislative Committee. Our focus is on how our denomination will organize itself in light of the growing reality that we are a global church.
Methodism is growing at a faster rate outside of the United States than inside, particularly in Africa and the Philippines. We will consider how Annual Conferences, Jurisdictional Conferences, Central Conferences, and General Conference are structured and how they interact with each other in light of this new reality.
Decisions made could change the number of lay and clergy delegates elected to attend the NC Annual Conference each summer. The role and responsibilities of the Conference Lay Leader could expand if particular legislation is passed. The configuration of jurisdictions could change, putting the NC Conference in relationship with additional conferences or different conferences than the ones presently designated in the Southeast.
I was eight year old and went to church almost every Sunday. At about this age, I began to miss a Sunday every now and then. Soon, I missed two Sundays in a row and knew I was not supposed to do this. The next Saturday, I went to the mailbox to check the mail as I always did when I was home and in the mailbox, was a letter for me, my first letter ever to my knowledge. Later that day, I opened the letter while hiding from my parents and it was from my Sunday school teacher, Ms. Martha. I was devastated that my Sunday School teacher had to remind me of where I needed to be each Sunday. I found my way back to church the following Sunday. Ms. Martha nurtured me all summer and in the fall, I invited Jesus Christ into my heart. Ms. Martha remained a key figure in my life all the days of her life.
I am serving on the Local Church Legislative Committee. As a delegate representing the NC Conference, I have to always hold the mission and vision (making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world focusing on effective leaders and healthy congregations) of the Church before me and see all the work of General Conference through that lens. The local church is the most significant place where disciples are made.
The Local Church Committee work at General Conference affects everyone from the pastor to the person in the pew. While a member of a local church may not serve beyond that church, the actions of this committee affect all the ways we function as disciple-makers. This committee looks at the way the local church is organized, how we choose our leaders and their training from Administrative Council, SPRC to Lay Servant Ministries. This Committee also examines and recommends changes to guidelines for managing church property, camping and retreat ministries and many other matters that affect the people in the pews.