North Alabama United Methodist Church Annual Conference
General Charles Krulak and the Birmingham-Southern Hilltop Singers are the headliners for this year’s Laity Luncheon at Annual Conference, Friday, June 1 at noon in the Great Hall, on the third floor of Norton Campus Center. By now, four of the eight Districts have held Pre Conference meetings and been instructed in online registration for Conference,including how to register for the Laity Luncheon and other special meals. We need your support for the Laity Luncheon! I believe you will receive a blessing from the program. The deadline to reserve your tickets is quickly approaching; don’t be left out. Order your Laity Luncheon tickets now!
For the last two weeks, clergy and lay delegates and alternates have been in Tampa, Florida for The United Methodist Church’s General Conference. You elected the six Lay Delegates for this year’s conference, and each represented North Alabama well. Delegates from all over the world meet every four years to adjust the Book of Discipline, which provides the rules of our great church.
You heard much about the Call to Action Committee and the alternate plan to reorganize and streamline the agencies to save money. The bad news is the merged plan that came about during the Conference was passed by the delegates but rejected by the General Churches Judicial Committee as being unconstitutional, giving some of the agencies too much power to make changes contrary to the General Conference. Therefore, the plan was rejected and all the planning for the past three years went for naught for now.
The good news is the plan, though rejected, gave good direction in the way the church must go in the future. The other delegates and I have confidence a revised plan will pass in 2016. Further good news is the rules in the Book of Discipline of 2008 are still in place.
Other issues of great importance to United Methodists that tend to divide our church either did not make it out of Legislative Committees or did not pass the delegation.
I will mention two changes that passed - one involving clergy and one involving laity. The petition to no longer guarantee appointments for clergy elders passed. Two petitions passed involving changing the name of Lay Speaking Ministries to Lay Servant Ministries. Lay Speaking will now be a function of Lay Servant Ministries. Danette Clifton posted a complete report of all legislation on the North Alabama Website and a daily log of all happening at General Conference.
I want to thank all that voted for the delegates to represent North Alabama this year, and I want to thank Rev. Mark Parris for leading this year’s delegation and to Gloria Holt who lead the Laity to this year’s Conference. Many clergy and laity wrote the delegation notes and letters of prayer support. These were delivered by Gloria each day of the Conference. What a blessing! Thanks for all the support and all the church prayer groups that prayed for us during Conference.
I look forward to seeing each of you at this year’s Annual Conference at Birmingham-Southern May 31-June 2.
Conference Lay Leader