HIGHLIGHTS FROM HOLSTON ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2019
In her “State of the Church” report, Bishop Dindy Taylor read Paul’s letter in 1 Corinthians 12 about unity and diversity in the church: “The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church”. She said she had attended meetings in which both progressives and traditionalists felt “deeply hurt” because they believed “the United Methodist Church no longer wanted them to be part of it”. Despite disagreements between members, the church can still work together to love people, Taylor said. “That’s Christ’s body. That’s who we are. We must never forget that, because God is counting on us”.
In the Lay Leader’s Report, Del Holley said Holston Conference has two paths: one is a path filled with worry, hand-wringing, and asking ‘What is the future of the church?’” Holley said, “We must avoid that path at all costs for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-control.” Instead, he challenged members to “choose the path of devotion, recommit yourself to sharing the good news of God’s love and claim the power of the Holy Spirit that the Kingdom of God may come upon the earth”.
A $9.1 million budget for 2020 was approved. This is less than the $9.25 million approved for 2019.
The Hands-on Mission Project was valued at $220,131 with all districts exceeding their goals with total 9,042 kits. Scenic South (home buckets) goal was 400. Actual received was 1,375. Change for Children received $61,990. The Addiction Ministry offering was $129,733. This will be distributed in grants for new and existing ministries addressing addiction.
Tim Hilton, addiction and recovery expert, shared his personal story of substance abuse, while explaining brain chemisty during addiction and the nature of the disease. His presentation prepared church members for ministry to help individuals and families struggling with addiction. Stephannie Strutner, executive director of ASAP of Anderson, said more than five people die of an opioid overdose every day in Holston Conference. Faith communities are needed to work with other sectors in addressing the epidemic in multiple ways, she said.
The Rev. Betty Furches shared a moving tribute to Hiwassee College, which closed its doors May 10 after 170 years. The presidents of Emory & Henry College and Tennessee Wesleyan College asked for a “moment of silence” in recognition of Hiwassee College.
There were 33 clergy honored at the Retirement Recognition.
The Service of Ordination, Commissioning, Recognition and Sending Forth featured 5 ordained elders, 8 provisional elders and 1 associate member.
Delegates to the General Conference and to the Jurisdictional Conference were elected to represent Holston.
More details and reports may be found at ACNews.Holston.org.
June Haman, Lay Member