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?
Up first, Gray Southern and Trish Archer share their answers to our questions.
Gray Southern (Delegation Chair)
I met Jesus because he was waiting to meet me at the nursery of my home church, Centenary UMC in Smithfield. From the time I was there and all through my childhood, he met me in the loving care of the people there who knew him. He met me at my actual confirmation when as I was being blessed, I knew and felt his love. He met me when he called me to ordained ministry while on a NCC-sponsored youth trip five years later. He met me when I was angry and confused by that call and was walking home late one night from the college library. And he’s met me at each place he’s sent me to serve. So I know Jesus because he came to meet me.
I’m going to serve on the Financial Administration Committee. That’s the committee that gets to recommend how we spend our resources for the Kingdom. Setting goals, budgets, determining various uses of our money, shaping how we invest our resources is the Kingdom’s work. We know that God loved us enough to give us Jesus so the way we give to the world—and allocate our resources—determines how we engage that world and how that world will experience us. It’s also crucial work because our decisions about money determine how we choose our future. Budget-making is where our values get lived out in some very real ways. God engaged the world with Jesus and we’re doing the same with how we live so I’m excited about the opportunity help shape our mission, our service, and our planting new churches to grow that Kingdom. Those choices will impact every local congregation because they help determine the sort of life we will have as a denomination, as well as, the resources available in the local church.
Trish Archer (Delegation Secretary)
I came to know Jesus through my parents’ teaching and example and through the mission and ministries of Norlina UMC. Through a Lay Witness Mission at my home church when I was 13, I began to understand that Jesus knew me and loved me unconditionally – that this all-powerful and all-knowing God was not just “up in heaven” but was there beside me in the everyday. This personal encounter changed my life forever.
I will serve on the Discipleship Legislative Committee. The Discipleship Committee receives reports from the General Board of Discipleship, Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, and the Native American Comprehensive Plan. They also review and act upon proposed legislation in children, youth and adult discipleship ministries, lay servant ministries, services for the ordering of ministry, and a proposed hymnal revision.
Two other roles for me while in Portland:
At the beginning of General Conference, delegates will vote on the Rules that will guide the Conference. One of these Rules is new, allowing for small group discernment. If it (Rule 44) passes, I will serve as a small group leader for one of the discernment groups. I will also have the privilege to participate in opening worship through the serving of Holy Communion.
The work of the Discipleship Committee may impact the people in the pews in several ways:
- Laity seeking to serve as certified lay servants and lay speakers will see a process that clarifies their distinct ministries.
- Laity and clergy may see a new hymnal that can be customized for congregations. Each hymnal will have a core of hymns, songs, worship resources and indexes that can be accessed in print or online. Supplemental music and worship resources can be purchased based on the church’s preference.
- Adoption of the plans for Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century and the Native American Comprehensive Plan will provide resources for strengthening leadership, mission and ministry.