Celebrating Women Clergy
Annual Conference will lift up ministry, vision, fellowship

The Holston Annual Conference will welcome home one of its own — Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor — during a four-day meeting focusing on a milestone for women clergy. Under the theme, "Courageous Past, Bold Future," Bishop James Swanson will preside at Holston's annual meeting, to be held June 11-14 in Lake Junaluska, N.C. Representing 914 churches in east Tennessee, southwest Virginia, and north Georgia, 1,049 clergy and 868 lay members are expected to attend. They'll kick off opening worship with a celebration of the 50th anniversary of full clergy rights for women. The following days will be devoted to lifting up conference mission and ministry, presenting and celebrating a new vision statement, and gathering with old and new friends.

Taylor, a former Cleveland District superintendent who many Holston members know on a first-name basis as "Dindy," returns to her home conference to preach at the June 11 opening worship in Stuart Auditorium. Her topic: "Remember Me." Taylor was elected to the episcopacy in 2004 and serves as resident bishop in the South Carolina Conference.

Other preachers at the four-day meeting include the Rev. Janice Robertson, pastor at First Jefferson City UMC in Morristown District; the Rev. Walter Willis, pastor at Magnolia Avenue UMC in Knoxville District; and Bishop James Swanson.

Bishop Scott Jones, resident bishop for the Kansas West Conference, will lead Bible studies during the session.

Musical groups participating in worship include Praise in Motion liturgical dance team from Tyner UMC, Chattanooga District; New Beginnings Quartet from Hale's Chapel UMC, Big Stone Gap District; and the Broad Street UMC Choir, Cleveland District.

The Service of Ordination and Commissioning, including 17 candidates for ordination as elder, is scheduled for Tuesday night.

At press time, Annual Conference members were expected to consider as many as 10 resolutions, provided on pages 184-191 of the "Book of Reports."

Also in the "Book of Reports," which was recently mailed to Annual Conference members, is the proposed budget for 2007 (see pages 56-72). The Rev. Andy Ferguson, president of the Council on Finance and Administration, will ask the conference to accept a 2007 budget of $15.89 million, reflecting a 3.8 percent increase over 2006.

Participants can look forward to scheduled "fellowship time" again this year, when coffee, soda, water, ice cream, or popcorn will be served as a courtesy from several sponsors. On Tuesday, members will be encouraged to "Walk for Change" — an effort to promote good health while raising money for children's ministry.


Bishop's Column

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Celebrating Women Clergy
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