Annual Conference 2002
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Tuesday's Daily Call
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Annual Conference concludes with good news & goodwill
The 2002 session of Holston Annual Conference concluded with standingroom- only worship services and news that a $7.8 million goal for pastors' pensions had been surpassed.
Under the theme, "Reflecting The Light," an estimated 1,600 clergy and lay leaders representing 931 congregations in East Tennessee, North Georgia and Southwest Virginia gathered June 9-12 in Lake Junaluska, N.C.
Bishop Ray W. Chamberlain Jr. presided, sending church leaders forth with a challenge to reflect the light of Jesus Christ by accepting pastors regardless of gender or race and welcoming homosexuals in the pews.
"God desperately needs voices to speak out against violence, abuse, prejudice, hate and any nationalism that violates or compromises God's vision for the human family," he said.
Participants gave to four offerings and sent two truckloads of supplies to missions in Zimbabwe and Liberia. With little deliberation, they voted to approve a $15.66 million budget and a $398-per-year past service rate for pre-1982 pensions for 2003.
Members also heard sermons and Bible studies delivered by prominent United Methodist ministers the Rev. Jerome King Del Pino, the Rev. Eddie Fox, and Bishop Richard Wilke.
- Leaders for the Legacy of Commitment campaign announced that more than $8 million had been received in pledges for pastors' pensions. The three-year campaign aimed to raise $7.8 million to fund a liability for pre-1982 pensions. On April 28, 2002, more than $1.6 million was raised for Retired Ministers Sunday alone. A 480-mile bicycle ride through the conference, undertaken by Holston ministers, raised $56,000 in commitments and provided untold publicity value.
- The conference voted to adopt a 2003 budget reflecting a 3.74 percent increase over 2002. The conference also approved the Council on Finance and Administration's proposal that a $3 million liability for pre-1982 pensions be removed from the 2004 budget, pending receipt of campaign pledges.
- Participants swiftly voted to approve a "Camping Master Plan" developed over two years. In addition to reorganizing management of Holston's sevencamp system, the plan provides a new name, mission, vision, core values and standards of operation. The plan also addresses an accumulated $250,000 deficit to be repaid over a 10-year period with endowment earnings at $25,000 per year.
- Holston ceremoniously sent off supply kits collected by local churches valued at $161,035 to needy children in Zimbabwe and Liberia. An offering collected for seven missions within conference boundaries totaled $85,717.
- An offering collected for Change for Children, benefiting needy children in Africa and within Holston, totaled $39,725. An offering collected to offset Annual Conference costs totaled $5,290. A fourth offering, totaling about $9,000, was collected as a gift for Bishop Chamberlain to take to Cuba Annual Conference the following week.
- Hiwassee Interim President James Murrell announced the college has accomplished 80 percent of a June 30 financial goal to prevent accreditation loss.
- Holston native the Rev. Eddie Fox, World Director of Evangelism for the World Methodist Council, preached to more than 2,000 worshippers during one evening service. Fox and George Morris, also of the World Methodist Council, led a "faith sharing" workshop attended by about 1,000. Earlier in the day, every person in the audience received specialedition, faith-sharing New Testaments.
- Referring to Acts 2:42, retired Bishop Richard Wilke of Kansas urged listeners to practice evangelism through Bible studies and fellowship in their own homes.