2013 Louisiana Annual Conference
"Blessings in the Wilderness" is theme for 2013 Louisiana Annual Conference
More than 1,000 United Methodists gathered at Centenary College in Shreveport, La. June 2-5 to celebrate “Blessings in the Wilderness” during the 2013 session of the Louisiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey delivered her first Episcopal Address on Monday morning, focusing on newly adopted Core Values for the Louisiana Annual Conference. Bishop Harvey said that ascribing to the five core values of Integrity, Accountability, Unrelenting Love for All People, Courage and Risk, and Holding Nothing Sacred but the Mission will assist the conference in “living into its vision for a preferred future.”
“If we are not leading others into an abundant life in Christ, we cease to be the church. We are about making disciples not members. We must deepen our discipleship by leading people to an experience of what it means to be in right relationship with Jesus Christ,” urged Bishop Harvey. The full address is posted online here.
Bishop Gregory Palmer, Episcopal leader of the West Ohio Area of The United Methodist Church, delivered powerful messages in the Gold Dome during Monday night worship and at 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Bishop Palmer reminded the Louisiana Conference that every church, whether there are five members or hundreds of members, has “everything they need to take the next step in ministry.”
Each congregation turned in financial and ministry commitment forms during Monday night’s worship service for the “Bless the Children” initiative, focusing on ministry with underserved children. A total of $485,034 was pledged by Louisiana’s local churches to this initiative.
Our continued concern for the elimination of global diseases was woven throughout the conference, particularly as delegates celebrated the March 2 Louisiana Skeeter Run, when more than 2,500 volunteers, walkers and runners participated in 10 runs throughout the state to raise funds and awareness for Imagine No Malaria. More than $75,000 has been raised for the cause to date.
Conference members also signed petitions in support of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. These petitions will be sent to Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter.
A Transition Task Force, appointed to guide the conference in the implementation of major budget cuts and the elimination of several conference offices, issued its report. The report may be viewed here. A Structure Revision Team, appointed to study our current structure as a conference, proposed the dissolution of the Conference Ministry Team and a movement toward a strategic visioning entity known as the “Joshua Team.” Clergy appointed to the team include Revs. John Cannon, Andy Goff, Bernie Johnson, Lynn Malone, Wybra Price and Leslie Stephens. Lay members of the team are Sue Catchings, Anthony Alfred, Brad Burkman, Scott Hughes, Renee Evans and Clara Scott.
Rev. Rob Weber, conference director of Church Development and Transformation, lifted up clergy who will be working with new church planting and church re-starts. The full report can be viewed at http://lacongregationaldevelopment.wordpress.com
Three persons were ordained elders in full connection with the conference, and two were ordained as deacon in full connection during the Ordination and Commissioning Service led by Bishop Harvey. Five were commissioned as provisional elders and one was commissioned as provisional deacon. Ordained as elders are Betsy Bingham Eaves, John Raymond Kavanaugh, Jr. and Jared Roland Williams.
Steve Norman London and Christopher Hartley McLain were ordained deacon in full connection with the conference. Colleen Allison Bookter, Albert Warren Clifton, Joy Lynn Comeaux, Bertrand Griffin II and Marissa Sue Teauseau were commissioned as provisional elders. Emily Elin Bankston was commissioned as a provisional deacon.
Retirees honored during the “Passing of the Mantle” service on Wednesday morning include Revs. Judy Bazer, Connie Breaux, Charles David Billings, Jr., Paul M. Corse III, Ed Dilworth, Walt Dunbar, Dave Fortuna, Joe Hoover, Steven R. Kelly, Terry Love, Thomas May, Lee McKinzie, Doug Milliron, Mary Ann Robinson, Dottie Smith, Larry Stafford and Bill Willis.
The recognition of local pastors, those completing the License to Preach School and those receiving lay ministry certification was held June 4 in the Gold Dome during the afternoon session of conference. Ten people were recognized for completing the License to Preach School. They are Charles Emerson Balthrop, Charlotte Ann Birdwell, Anthony John Bouligney, Joshua Roy Elder*, Samual J. Hubbard II*, Doris (Deanne) Hargis Johnson, Cynthia D. Kaupp, Roseanne Osborne, Janis Karen Seifert* and Sandra Ann Williams. Those receiving their first appointment are designated with an asterisk (*).Linard Craig Davis, Anna Kate Rawls, Rachel H. McConnell Switzer and Stephen Michael Zuber completed the License to Preach School in previous years and received their first appointment this year.Edward Lee Cooper was appointed as a local pastor this past year ad-interim.
Recognized as local pastor having completed the Course of Study School is Richard Paul Varner.
Recognized as certified lay ministers are Charles Emerson Balthrop and Randall Wade Dailey.
Appointments for 2013-2014 were fixed on Wednesday, including the appointment of the incoming Baton Rouge District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Van Stinson and incoming Monroe District Superintendent, Rev. Ellen Alston (previously Alexandria District Superintendent). The Alexandria District is being eliminated and those churches currently in the district are splitting and moving into the Acadiana, Lake Charles, Monroe and Shreveport districts. A service recognizing the realignment of conference districts—eliminating the Alexandria District, and moving to six districts—was held Monday afternoon in the Dome.
All proposed constitutional amendments from the 2012 General Conference received affirmation from the members. The body passed a resolution proposed by the conference Native American ministry asking that the annual conference and its members request that flood insurance rates be kept affordable and to encourage the sustaining of federal flood insurance programs.