Sunday, June 8, 2014

Annual Conference 2014, Day 1

Monday, May 26 - from the Laity Point of View

It was raining the first day of Conference; but in the middle of a drought, all drops of rain feel like blessings from God.  Off to a good start.

The Conference for laity started at 1:00 pm. with registration followed by a laity orientation session.  What a great idea.  It's been a long time since I've been to Annual Conference and there were many attendees who were there for the first time.  It was good to get information on how things were going to happen.

There was a discussion of the items we'd be voting on (district realignment, the budget which includes New People/New Places, and new health benefits for retired pastors and their spouses). There are videos on the Conference website ( that explain the things we will be voting on.

This first part of Conference was held at St. Luke's UMC.  It has a book store, a gift shop and a Starbucks. Anybody else think we need a Starbucks at Indiahoma UMC?

A band from Claremore provided musical entertainment. "Elevate" is a band of 8 teenagers: two 8th graders, two 9th graders, one 10th grader and three 11th graders. I feel like we'll be hearing more from them around the conference.

The Laity Session started at 3:00 p.m. Bishop Hayes made a brief appearance and was funny and inspirational, as always.

There were awards and presentations about what different laity groups are doing.

I thought the Deaconess and Home Missioner presentation was very interesting. When she said, "A Deaconess is not a female deacon," I knew I didn't know what what this group does. A Missioner is a male Deaconess. These servants are laity who have responded to the call of God and are commissioned by the United Methodist Church to full-time ministries of love, justice and service. They do this without pay.  If you are interested and want to know more, you can read about them here.

Delegates to Jurisdictional Conference (a bunch of Annual Conferences get together to decide stuff) will be nominated at the 2015 Annual Conference. Is there anyone you want to nominate?  Oklahoma gets to send 7 clergy and 7 laity with approximately 5 alternates.

The Board of Laity has 6 areas of Focus:
  1. Spiritual Servant presented by Janie Wilson
  2. Church Growth by Ali Shayhan. Young families are the most sought after and the most mysterious.
  3. Missional Discipleship by Dr. Don Kim
  4. Small Membership/Rural Churches by Claudean Harrison.
  5. Lay Servant Ministries by Sherry Hiller.
  6. Connectional Resources by Herschel Beard
 You can follow the Board of Laity on Twitter at OKUMCBOL.

No comments: