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2013 Annual Conference

June 21-23
The Hampton Roads Convention Center
Hampton, VA

Saturday Morning Session

Dr. Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper led the lay and clergy members in a time of Bible study. "How do you see your life modeling the priority of prayer?" he asked. Jesus asked his disciples to pray. Jesus said, "I only do what the Father tells me to do. I only say what the Father tells me to say." How did he discover this... "Probably through prayer," Harper said.

Jesus modeled prayer by his life and ministry, Harper explained. The crowds would gather and the word would spread. "It's the kind of ministry you and I would covet," he said.

Harper explained that when things are going well, "I throw myself headlong into the work. My prayer and devotional life get moved to the edge." In the midst of amazing ministry, Jesus would withdraw and pray.

"Pastors should start their workday each day in the sanctuary," said Harper.

Jesus also awakened the desire for prayer. "When you awaken the power of prayer, you awaken the most powerful thing in your life," Harper proclaimed.

Jesus also established a pattern of prayer. "Luke tells us that Jesus was praying in a certain place," Harper said. And when we say the Lord's Prayer, "As soon as you say 'Our' you are not praying alone."

Warren Harper, conference lay leader, delivered the Laity Address. A retiree from New Jersey and now worshiping at Wellspring UMC in Williamsburg, Harper said he can do "whatever, whenever. But the whenevers have you attached." He explained that the job of empowering the laity has been given to us since our baptism. "I crossed the T's and dotted the I's when I was confirmed."

The Rev. Marc Brown

"There are times when I've been challenged. At times I'm frustrated and disappointed with the church. Then I remember WHO I should be listening to. I can pray and I do pray for forgiveness and I listen."

The Rev. James Sprouse Jr. gave the report of the Equitable Compensation Commission.

Shirley Cauffman presented the report of the Committee on Episcopacy, specifically concerning the episcopal residence that was constructed in 2012. It is a 4-bedroom, 3-and-half bath home with a master suite on the main floor. A dedication and blessing took place in November 2012.

Jeff Davis presented the initial Council on Finance and Administration report. He reported apportionment percentages given by some of the districts. The Rev. Steve Summers and Mrs. Betty Forbes also contributed to the report with budget and apportionment figures. For Clergy Benefits Apportionments, a plan has been designed to maintain affordable and sustainable apportionments that will be presented Sunday morning. The increase in health care costs is huge, Forbes said. Davis concluded the report by saying the proposed budget will be a 3.3 percent increase. The bishop explained that action on the CFA report would be taken on Sunday morning.

Dave Thompson gave the report for the Virginia United Methodist Foundation.

The Rev. Marc Brown, director of Connectional Ministries, and Mr. Warren Harper, conference lay leader, presented the Common Table report. Pictures were shown that represented the different ministries within the Virginia Conference, and from partnered ministries in Mozambique, Brazil, and Cambodia. A recommendation was made to place the vision statement with the mission statement in the Charter for the Common Table on Church Vitality in the Standing Rules of Order to read: "The mission of the Virginia Annual Conference is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by equipping its local churches for ministry and by providing a connection for ministry beyond the local church; all to the glory of God." A motion was made by Andrew Ware to ask that two young adults/youth be included in the new structure of the Common Table. The motion passed.

Romy del Rosario

A time of worship began at 11:20 featuring a video of the people and ministries in Cambodia. Worship was led by the Rev. Romy del Rosario, country director of the United Methodist Mission in Cambodia. "We want to change love into mission. Our prayer is the Holy Spirit will set our feet in mission in the world as the word becomes flesh," he said. He thanked the Virginia Conference for "stepping up to the plate" in mission. Other participants included the Rev. Hong Phally, the Rev. Lun Shophy, and Ms. Hou Kim San and other representatives of the Cambodian Church. The Rev. Brenda Biler was the Scripture reader who read from John 21:4-12, 15-19. Joyce Winston led the litany.

Bishop Cho led a commissioning of missionaries Kip and Nancy Robinson from the Virginia Conference.

Collection of the Annual Conference Offering.

The bishop then called for the conference offering. The offering will go to Brazil, Mozambique, Cambodia, and Virginia for children's ministries. A video was shown featuring children from all these areas. The bishop recognized the Holy Rollers, a group of cyclists in the conference who bike to the session to raise awareness and money for the offering.

It has been reported that so far the conference has collected 8,612 school kits, 14,851 health kits, 4,262 birthing kits, 1,104 layette kits, 232 cleaning buckets, 254 other kits for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) at an estimated worth of $358,440.

Some 7,000 pounds of canned and boxed food has been brought to Annual Conference for the Virginia Peninsula Food Ban through the 4 Cans 4 Conference food drive.

Volunteers bagged 50,000 pounds of potatoes for area food pantries at the Potato Drop sponsored by the Society of St. Andrew early this morning.


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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
(804) 521-1100
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