The Indiana Annual Conference met June 8-10 at Ball State University and I wanted to offer this highlight and summary of key events from the conference. This isn't exactly a devotion, but it does recognize the important work of the church we support through St. Luke's and I hope will give you an understanding of the work of United Methodism beyond our doors.
Teaching Time: Jake Mulder, author of the book Growing Younger led two important sessions around the question, "What does the future of your church look like?" He offered 6 Core Commitments to help churches grow young: keychain leadership, empathizing with young people, taking Jesus' message seriously, fuel a warm community, prioritize young people and be best neighbors. His book is well worth getting.
Conference Reports: Included Conference Trustees, Board of Pensions and Health Benefits (reported health insurance in 2024 will increase 12%), Nominating Committee, Outdoor Ministries (noted we had over 1800 lives impacted through Conference camps), United Methodist Foundation (celebrated that in 2022 they helped 77 congregations with initiatives, gave scholarship to 15 students, and over $47k to retired clergy in financial crisis), Church Development (reported a goal of launching 25 new faith communities next year), Conference Strategic Direction Team, co-chaired by our district superintendent, Dr. Aleze Fulbright, and General Board of Global Ministries (recognized that the United Methodist Committee on Relief supported 97 global disasters with more than $29M. Bishop Trimble commissioned St. Luke's member, Becca Baughman as a GBGM missions fellow. Becca starts a 2-year assignment at the homeless shelter in Tampa, FL in August. We will recognize her at St. Luke's on August 6.)
Our Conference Budget of $11.9M was passed.
174 churches were approved for disaffiliation and once this is completed the list will be on the conference website. With prior disaffiliations, this brings the total for the Indiana Conference to approximately 300.
Delegate Elections: Given the long delay in holding a General Conference, we have had some delegates withdraw and some lay delegates disaffiliate from the UMC. Therefore we elected one new clergy delegate, Shannon Stringer and six new lay delegates: Alyssa Isaacs-Bailey, Janee LaFuze, May Kate Annin, Karin Heinicke, Mya Taylor and Lou Ann Pence.
We had 56 pastors retired representing 1506 years of service.
We celebrated that last year United Methodists across Indiana gave nearly $1.3M in global missions and disaster relief support.
We were led by youth and young adults in a powerful gun violence awareness.
The Celebration of Life Service recognized and honored the 41 clergy and 38 spouses who died in 2022.
The annual conference passed sweeping legislation that supported the Indiana Conference being open and inclusive supporting the rights of all people. You can find the original 2023 Petitions and Resolutions here (https://www.inumc.org/annual-conference/reports/) and you can scroll down to the bottom of this link to read the final outcome of votes: https://www.inumc.org/annual-conference-2023-summary/
The Conference closed with the Ordination Service in which we ordained 3 Deacons (including our own Rev. Mindie Moore!) 5 Elders, and commissioned 5 Provisional Members (meaning they will seek Elder ordination in a few years).
Finally this is a fun video recap of annual conference.