Wednesday June 6, 2012

 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012
MORNING SESSION
 
The opening prayer was given by Rev. Scott Adams.
 
Rev. Judith Bazer, representing the Committee on the Journal, reported that the Committee had reviewed the minutes for the Sessions of Annual Conference for Tuesday, June 5, 2012 and found them to be in order. She recommended approval of the minutes. The minutes were approved by the Conference.
 
Dr. James Lyons, President of Dillard University of New Orleans, greeted the conference.
 
Dr. Ellen Blue spoke about a book that she has written on the civil rights of women in New Orleans entitled, "St. Marks and the Social Gospel."
 
BOARD OF TRUSTEES REPORT
Judge Jay Caraway, Chair of the Conference Board of Trustees, presented three resolutions which were not in the pre-conference report but that were printed and had been distributed. He also referenced page 71 of the pre-conference report dealing with property matters that were dealt with over the last few years.
 
Resolution One is to discontinue and abandon St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge District.
 
Resolution Two is to discontinue and abandon Baskin United Methodist Church in the Monroe District.
 
Resolution Three is to discontinue and abandon Hope United Methodist Church in the Monroe District.
 
The entire report was voted on and approved.
 
BOARD OF PENSIONS
Mr. Kenny Beauvais, Chair of the Board of Pensions, began the report by referencing page 50 of the pre-conference report. The pension’s apportionment for 2013 will be $209,000, compared to $450,000 in 2012. He stated that 2013 Pre-82 past service rate is to be set at $661 per service year, an increase from 2012. This is 1% of the CAC in 2013 which is $66,109. On page 52, pension benefits are a part of deferred compensation. Report two, changes in the health benefit plan. Those are relatively minor this year. It has changed to a Multiplan provider. There is no substantial change to your health insurance plan. Financial review of health plan, we are self-funding so your conference pays all of these claims. The long term goal is to be able to set premium rates far into the future. We need a few more years to build our reserves. The health care benefit resolution is in your packet; it is to be equitable and charges equally to all churches. There are two corrections to be made in Report III, under section Roman numeral II A.), Norwood Hingle from 1990 and B.) James W. Barrett adding June 1st 1997 to June 30, 1997.
 
On pages 64 and 65 of the pre-conference report is an annual resolution for IRS purposes declaring that 100% of UMC pensions and incapacity payments are designated as “rental/housing allowances”.
 
We have churches that have not paid pension or health insurance premiums on behalf of their clergy. We need to get this cleared up so your name will not appear on here.
 
Board of Pension report was voted on and accepted.
 
RECOGNITION OF RETIREES #2
Rev. Darryl Tate recognized the following retirees: Rita M. Chaisson, Ellen B. Montegudo, Steven W. Caraway, and J. Roddy Taylor.
 
The opening hymn "We've Come this Far by Faith" was sung to begin the Service of Recognition of the Retirees.
 
The Retiring Servants are: Johnie W. Adkins, Jr., Patricia Teal Bates, Dale E. Branch, Samuel Calvo, Steven W. Caraway, Rita M. Chaisson, Emmett C. Collins, Carole Cotton-Winn, Charles L. Floyd, Jr., Carol D. Heard, Roger D. Lathan, Ellen B. Montegudo, Owen H. Peyton, Sr., Bill E. Strawbridge, J. Roddy Taylor, and Fannie Thompson.
 
The Song of Blessing was, "Go in Peace, Walk in Love", led by Rev. Connie Breaux. A special “thank you” was given to Mrs. Jamie Harrell, Rayville UMC who played piano for this service.
 
In the Service of the Passing of the Mantle, the mantle was passed from Rev. J. Roddy Taylor, representing the retiring class, to Rev. Brad Franklin, representing the new class.
 
The Service of the Recognition of the Retirees was closed with the hymn “Halle, Halle”.
 
SVTF/CFA REPORT #2
CFA Budget Amendment Five was presented by Rev. Karl Klaus on behalf of Dillard University. The requested change is to restore Dillard’s apportioned amount to the 2012 budget amount of $86,000 for operational expenses.
 
Elaine Burleigh, representing CFA, stated that Dillard University is owned by the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ and that the SVTF/CFA proposal would establish an endowment for Dillard University allocating $36,000 directly to Dillard and $50,000 allocated to an endowment annually. Once the endowment reached $250,000, the recommendation would be to reduce the apportionment to Dillard University to $36,000 annually and stop funding the endowment. CFA voted 8 to 0 to not concur with this amendment. Speeches were made for and against the amendment. The Bishop called for the vote and Budget Amendment Five failed
 
Budget Amendment Six: Because Amendment Five failed, Rev. Karl Klaus moved to withdraw Amendment Six. The vote was taken and Budget Amendment Six failed.
 
Budget Amendment Seven: Rev. Don Ross presented Amendment Six which would restore the Board of Higher Education’s apportionment back to the 2012 budget amount. He stated that the budget proposal will not give the board enough time to re-align their budget and campus ministries. He urged the approval of the amendment. Rev. Elaine Burleigh gave the response of CFA stating that CFA voted 7 non-concur and 1 concur. She said that CFA feels that the conference must position itself to be strong enough to live well into the future, especially when the death tsunami hits. At this level of funding, the conference cannot sustain itself. Questions and speeches for and against the amendment were entertained. The vote was taken: For 389 against 281, the amendment prevailed.
 
Since Budget Amendment Seven passed, Budget Amendment Eight was withdrawn.
 
Rev. Karl Klaus then presented Budget Amendment Two restoring the Youth Director, the assistant and the program budget back to the 2012 amounts. He stated that this keeps things as they are for the youth ministry. Rev. Elaine Burleigh gave the response of CFA stating that this was one of the hardest choices that CFA had to make because it affects people we know and love. She stated that the proposed budget would not be an end to youth ministry but a different way of doing it. She stated that CFA voted non-concurrence by a vote of 7 to 1. Questions and speeches for and against the amendment were entertained. The lunch hour approached and the Bishop announced that the debate would continue after the break. He asked Rev. Bobby Potter to dismiss the session with prayer. After the session re-convened, more discussion was entertained. The Bishop called for the vote. The amendment failed by six votes: 316-no, 310-yes. There was a motion to recount the vote. It was seconded. The motion did not carry.
 
Committee on Rules report was presented by Mrs. Carolyn Dove. She stated that the only requested rule change was actually a structured addition regarding forming an Episcopal Residency Committee. It was also requested of the Rules Committee to look at Article 1 of the general rules and report back to the 2013 Annual Conference with an interpretation and understanding of the rules in regard to reports and resolutions. The report was approved by the body.
 
The Skeeter Run report was presented by Mrs. Margaret Johnson and Mrs. Betty Backstrom. A video was shown and Mrs. Johnson stated that on April 21, 2012, more than two thousand volunteers helped make this first annual Skeeter Run successful, raising over $57,000. She then introduced Mrs. Pam Buck of the United Methodist Communications. Mrs. Buck announced that grants are available for local church clusters of three and districts that seek to sponsor the run next year. She said that a training tool will also be available. There is also information on free HIV testing located on the website.
 
Mrs. Carolyn Dove presented Budget Amendment One which proposed bringing back the Director of Youth Ministry, putting $33,000 back into the proposed budget. Mrs. Dove stated that the Youth Director is essential for youth events regarding making reservations, collecting money, registration, signing contracts, etc. Rev. Elaine Burleigh offered the response of CFA stating that it voted non-concurrence, 8 to 0. After questions and discussion, the vote was taken and Amendment Number One passed.
 
Carole Cotton Winn offered the prayer before the recess.
COMMITTEE ON NOMINATIONS REPORT
Rev. Larry Miller presented the Report of Nominations. He made the following changes:
George Anding has been nominated by the Bishop to be the new Chancellor.
Also the following corrections were made:
Page 172, Board of Ordained Ministry remove the name Shawn M. Anglim, Class of 2008.
Page 173, Board of Ordained Ministry remove the name Amy Mercer, Class of 2008. Replace with Christine Roberts, Baton Rouge clergy Class of 2008.
Page 174 Committee on Administrative Review - Change Larry O’Dell, Monroe clergy from Class of 2012 to Class of 2008. Add Flint Shea as an At-Large, Class of 2012.
Page 175 Investigation Committee - change the name Chris Blanchard, Class of 2008 to Class of 2012 and Bob Burgess, Class of 2012 to an At-Large. Add these two names as alternate delegates, George Ragsdale and Gard Wayt
 
Agencies and Institutions booklet:
Page 12, Centenary College Board of Directors add Fred Loy, Class of 2015.
Page 1, add Ann Sutton, Chair of Acadiana District.
Page 10, DCOM New Orleans District, delete the name Andy Goff, clergy.
Page 9, DCOM Alexandria District, add Chair for Doug de Graffenried.
Karli Pidgeon is listed as Campus Ministry and that makes her ineligible for CBHECM.
The report was approved with the corrections.
 
CONFERENCE MINISTRY TEAM REPORT
Conference Ministries Team report was presented by Mrs. Betty Blackman. She recognized the members and lifted up recent events such as the Skeeter Run, the Day of Caring and the Celebration of Christian Leaders. She moved that the Bishop form a Task Force to study the structure and organization of the conference and that at least 1/3 of the membership would be under the age of 40. Then bring the report back to the conference in 2013. The motion was seconded and after the vote, it carried.
 
Rev. Emile Tosso presented Amendment Nine which did not propose to change the budget, just a statement in the CFA report that would eliminate the statement that requires Wesley Foundations to confirm that a church has paid its previous year’s Board of Higher Education’s apportionment in full before accepting any extra-mile from the churches. Rev. Tosso stated that this statement is unjust since it only applies to the Wesley Foundations and no other areas of ministry. Rev. Elaine Burleigh gave the CFA response stating that CFA concurred unanimously with the amendment; however, CFA urges all churches to pay-out all of their apportionments by 100%. The vote was taken and Amendment Nine passed.
 
Rev. Roger Templeton presented Petition #4 regarding four items: 1) That the Annual Conference commits itself to provide at least the current funding levels for Conference Youth Ministry, Campus Ministries, Centenary College and Dillard University through the 2012-2016 quadrennium; 2) That decreases in funding in the conference budget come from other administrative areas; 3)That every local church be asked to pay 100% of its 2012 apportionment; and 4) That a new SVTF be appointed.to further study the conference’s financial situation. Rev. Templeton stated that Items 1 and 2 were out of order since it binded the budget for future years which is against the Discipline. Rev. John Cannon moved that the body consider only item number 4 of this petition. It was seconded and the vote passed, however, since the petition no longer dealt with the budget, it was postponed.
 
Petition #3 to direct all committees, groups, boards and agencies submitting budget requests to the Louisiana Annual Conference begin the process of Zero Based Budgeting was also postponed
 
Item #16 on page 45 of the CFA pre-conference report was once again presented. The annual conference voted to suspend the rules for this one item #16 to be considered. The CFA recommends that the apportionment formula be changed to delete property insurance premiums from the formula effective 2013. After discussion the conference voted to approve the apportionment formula change in Item #16.
 
Mr. Henry Stamper then asked for the approval of the entire CFA Report II, with changes. Rev. Larry Miller and Mrs. Belinda Denicola reviewed the budget changes. After restoring the Wesley Foundation cuts and after restoring the salary for the Conference Youth Director, and after editorially correct the revised Annual Conference apportionments, the new CFA budget totals $7,431,578 for 2013. This is a 9.34% cut from the 2012 budget. After discussion, the vote was taken and the report was approved.
 
Rev. William Thiele spoke to Petition #2 regarding avoiding war with Iran. The Board of Church and Society voted 9 concur and 0 non-concur. There was debate over the wording of the petition. It was motioned that the petition be postponed until next year and the maker of the petition to be in conversation with others regarding the wording of the document. It was seconded and passed.
 
In the final session Rev. Lamar Oliver made three motions that all passed:
1) Table all four petitions before us until next year 2013;
2) Adopt all reports in the pre-conference report that have not been acted upon already and;
3) Amend agenda for this final session to be the Episcopal report and the fixing of the appointments and essential items of the Bishops choice.
 
The annual conference agreed to allow Rev. Larry Miller to make necessary editorial corrections in the Statistician’s Condensed Report in the pre-conference report before it is published in the 2012 Journal. The annual conference also agreed to allow Rev. Ellen Alston’s report on General Conference to be published in the 2012 Journal since there wasn’t enough time to present this oral report during the final session of Annual Conference.
 
SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY
Mrs. Rachel Scott gave the report on Sexual Harassment Policy. She made a motion to suspend the rule that the documents must be distributed 24 hours in advance of the report to allow consideration of two sexual ethics policies since they were not distributed in advance. It was seconded. The vote was taken and the motion passed.
 
Mrs. Scott stated that the policy entitled, “Sexual Ethics Policy of the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church,” was a revision of an existing policy and includes all clergy, laity, lay employees and volunteers and anyone in ministerial roles. She then stated that the second policy entitled, “Sexual Ethics Policy of Professing Members” was regarding sexual harassment of clergy appointed to local churches. She said that this was a new policy. There was no discussion or debate regarding the policies. The vote was taken and the policies were approved.
 
TRANSITION TEAM
Mr. Kenny Beauvais moved for the formation of a Transition Team that would be charged with assisting the annual conference with moving from the 2012 budget into the approved 2013 budget. The Transition Team would be in consultation with the SVTF and CFA. He stated that this team would be appointed by the Bishop and would include youth representation. The motion was seconded and the vote was taken. The motion passed.
 
SHREVEPORT CONDO
Mr. Beauvais stated that the SVTF decided to withdraw the matter of selling the Shreveport Condo and designating the proceeds towards the Africa University pledge and this item may be brought back to the 2013 Annual Conference for consideration. 
 
EPISCOPAL COMMITTEE REPORT #2
The Episcopal Committee Report #2 was presented by Mr. Buzzy Anding. A video was shown depicting various moments of the Bishop’s life during his tenure at the Louisiana Annual Conference. Mr. Anding then began the “Service of Farewell” celebrating the ministry of Bishop William Hutchinson. Mr. Anding stated that the Bishop has served in local churches, as a district superintendent and as the Director of the Methodist Foundation in New Mexico. He was elected to the Episcopacy in July 2000 and has served as the Episcopal Leader for the Louisiana Annual Conference for twelve years. Mr. Anding reflected on the many gracious ways that the Bishop has led our conference. Rev. Bob Burgess then offered his recollections and thanksgivings. Mrs. Kay Hutchinson was escorted to the platform. The assembly affirmed their love for the Bishop and Mrs. Hutchinson with a standing ovation.
 
SERVICE OF SENDING FORTH
Dr. Don Cottrill began the Service of Sending Forth and recognized all those serving in various capacities of ministry. The service and ministry of Dr. Ramonalynn Bethley as the New Orleans District Superintendent was recognized by Bishop Hutchinson as she leaves this position and moves back into the local church. Mrs. Sarah Kreutiziger welcomed Rev. Hadley Edwards as the new district superintendent of the New Orleans District. Bishop Hutchinson then offered a prayer of hope and blessings for all those moving into new appointments and all those serving in ministry.
 
The 2012 session of the Louisiana Annual Conference ended with a recession around the Gold Dome, led by Bishop and Mrs. Hutchinson to the song, “When the Saints Go Marching In.”