2019 Annual Conference Update
Nearly 1500 lay and clergy delegates gathered last week in Greenville for Annual Conference 2019. The Annual Conferences of the United Methodist Church are not only the basic organizing structure of the Church but is also a meeting of laity and clergy delegates during which worship is enjoyed, fellowship is shared, and business is conducted among the people called Methodist.
Below is a short summary of key information from Annual Conference. An informal Q&A session will be held on Sunday, June 30 following our 11:15 worship for anyone who wants to hear more or has questions about the Annual Conference.
Report from the District Superintendents
Recovering from last year’s hurricanes continues to be a major focus of the Conference. Although there has been a tremendous outpouring of generosity and effort, much rebuilding is left to be done. The Conference Youth have raised nearly $250,000 to aid in this work. Various districts continue to make improving local public schools and anti-racism a focus. 18 new churches have been or are in the process of being planted across the Conference.
Budget and Finances
The North Carolina Annual Conference approved a budget of $16 million for 2021, representing a decrease of 21 percent from 2020. The substantial reduction is the result of completing the work to fully fund previously unfunded clergy retiree benefits and also because the Conference approved the sale of the bishop’s residence, valued at over $900,000. Proceeds from the sale of the residence will be invested and an appropriate housing allowance will be provided from those proceeds to future bishops appointed to the North Carolina Conference.
A 2.5 percent increase to minimum salary for full-time clergy ($46,627) was approved and the salary of the district superintendents was set at $112,766.
91 percent of assigned apportionments were received from local churches in the Conference last year.
The North Carolina Conference currently has 225,897 members, a slight decrease from 2017. Over 2,000 professions of faith were recorded in 2018. Average Sunday worship attendance topped 72,000 and, while lower than the previous year, online worship attendance increased substantially allowing the Conference to report an overall increase in worship attendance in 2018.
Delegates considered and voted on a number of resolutions. Resolutions are often advisory in nature, asking local churches to consider certain actions or recording the Annual Conference’s opinion on a particular issue. Approved resolutions included recommending churches adopt energy efficiency standards, increasing the diversity of languages used at Conference Youth events, standing against the use of solitary confinement in prisons, and encouraging the observance of the human rights of immigrants.
The Conference also passed a resolution, with 60 percent of the delegates voting in favor, supporting full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ persons in the church and rejecting implementation of the Traditional Plan which was passed at the recent special session of the General Conference. This resolution does not overturn the decision of the General Conference. The resolution simply places the North Carolina Annual Conference on record as being against the Traditional Plan. Another resolution calling for churches to leave the Annual Conference and form their own organization if the Traditional Plan is not overturned in 2020 failed with 80 percent of the delegates voting against it.
Delegates also overwhelmingly approved the creation of a study commission to advise churches on offering better and more pastoral support for LGBTQIA+ persons in response to increasing suicides among gay teenagers and violence directed at transgendered persons.
Election of Delegates to the 2020 General Conference
Annual Conferences elect delegates to attend the General Conference of the United Methodist Church every four years. Delegates are also elected to attend the Jurisdictional Conferences as well. The role of the General Conference is to consider and approve legislation contained in the Book of Discipline while the Jurisdictional Conferences elect and appoint bishops.
Each Annual Conference elects a number of delegates proportional to the total number of Methodists residing in its geographic area. The North Carolina Annual Conference elects 16 delegates to General Conference (split equally between clergy and laity) and another 16 delegates (also equally split) to Jurisdictional Conference. 10 alternates are also selected.
North Raleigh is extremely fortunate to have two of its members represented in among the laity delegations. Jin Lee was elected as a delegate to the Jurisdictional Conference and Mack Parker was selected as an alternate.
For a full list of the delegates as well as more details on the Annual Conference 2019 as a whole, click here.
Grace and Peace,
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