DAY AT A GLANCE by Rev. Jane M. Nugent
"Up unto thee, our living Head, let us in all things grow"
Day number three of Annual Conference began at 8:30 AM with the casting of ballots for delegates to General Conference. When the afternoon session adjourned yesterday, 7 lay delegates and 2 clergy delegates had been elected. Those lay delegates included: Joe Whittemore, Margaret Knight, Rubin Perry, Joe Kilpatrick, Betty Ellison, Hiram Bobo, and Mathew Pinson. The two elected clergy delegates for General Conference were Martha Forrest and Malone Dodson.
When the 26 delegates (13 lay and 13 clergy) are finally elected to attend General Conference next May, 26 additional delegates (13 lay and 13 clergy) will still need to be elected for Jurisdictional Conference next July. Which leaves all of us to wonder, "Will we be done by Friday?"
During election years, Annual Conference tends to have a different feel. In the hallways between sessions, the conversations often revolve around the casting of votes. However, since coming to North Georgia, Bishop Davis has always emphasized the role of worship throughout Annual Conference. Therefore, following the casting of ballots, this morning's session was devoted to a study of God's Word, led by the Reverend Dr. David Jones, and a guided prayer led by the Reverend Dr. Joe Peabody.
The morning session also included a report from the Conference Board of Laity and greetings from fellow United Methodist, Cathy Cox, Georgia Secretary of State. Essentially, the purpose of the Board of Laity is to encourage personal spiritual growth among Christians, to address racial fears and hostilities through the love of Christ, and to provide support and direction for such programs as lay speaking, the observance of Laity Day, and the work of lay leaders on the local and district levels.
After a break for lunch, conference resumed with a Service of Celebration and Remembrance. The preacher for this occasion was the Reverend Dr. Herchel Sheets, and those pastors remembered were:
Clay Emory Kemp Chester L. Weatherford Jonathan Zachary Farr Norman Pryor Manning, Jr. Garnett Marion Wilder Charles Wheatley Boleyn Douglas Eugene Harmon Arthur Clayton Gilmer Jorge Augusto Gonzalez Calvin C. Lawton Charles Levin Middlebrooks, Jr. Joseph Ray Dunahoo
At 3:15 PM, clergy ballot #8 and lay ballot #7 were cast. Then a report on clergy insurance was given by the Reverend Dr. Larry Caywood and Karen Fullerton, Conference Insurance Officer. Since our last Annual Conference, our insurance carrier has changed from United Healthcare to Cigna. Coverage has remained the same. However, new pastors in the conference or pastors with new dependents should note that there is a 30 day window in which to notify the Conference Insurance Officer of your eligibility. If one fails to make this contact within 30 days, one will have to wait until January of the following year in order to gain insurance coverage for oneself or any new eligible dependents.
An uplifting and humorous powerpoint presentation was then given by Clyde McDonald, Conference Treasurer. According to his report, membership in the conference is up by 6,373 persons, membership by profession of faith is up by 7,559 persons, and our average worship attendance is up by 2.2%!! Also there was good news in the area of apportionments. In 1994, only 67% of all churches in North Georgia paid 100% of their apportionments. In 1998, 82% or 768 churches paid 100% of their apportionments. At this point, the conference floor broke into a round of applause because of the work of God that is taking place in our local churches. In closing, it was noted that the Rome-Carrollton District, under the leadership of the Reverend Dr. Ed Tomlinson, paid the highest percentage of apportionments at 99.3%.
After the Treasurer's report, the Bishop noted that Eastminister Presbyterian Church in Stone Mountain had raised $25,000 for the rebuilding of the New Salem Church in the Gainesville District, which was destroyed by arson several months ago. Upon hearing this, the floor of the conference voted to also collect a special offering for New Salem UMC. Because it was an unplanned offering, the election tellers served as ushers, collecting money in Cokesbury bags and boxes that had held the unused ballots.
Following this special offering, Hank Huckaby presented a report for the Council on Finance and Administration (CF&A). Some highlights of this report are: (a) the proposed budget for the year 2,000 recommends a 6.2% increase; (b) a recommendation that the formula for the District Superintendent's salary be examined for FY2001; (c) a recommendation that the Director of the Office of Ministerial Services and Spiritual Formation be elevated to full cabinet status with equivalent compensation.
Finally, the day came to a close with the casting of clergy ballot #9 and lay ballot #8. At our adjournment, the following delegates had been elected:
At the writing of this report, the Bishop Edward W. Paup of the Portland Area was scheduled to preach at the evening Celebration of Evangelism, with special music provided by The Junaluska Singers.
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