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2013 Annual Conference

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

Sunday Morning Session

Sunday's music was provided by the Contemporary Worship

The morning session started with Bible study and conversation with Dr. Steve Harper with a theme of "Lord Teach Us to Pray." 

"No matter how far we've gone on the journey of prayer, there's always another step to be taken," he said. "We've placed our little boats in a stream that has been flowing for thousands of years."

"We come to this final session saying the same thing we said yesterday, 'Lord, teach us to pray,'" Harper said. "Jesus ignited the flame of prayer in those first apostles. Now this morning, the impossible task to survey the rest of the New Testament to see how to spread the flam of prayer."

A conference member fills out a ballot at conference.

He talked about Christianity was spreading to the Eastern parts of the world. The main way they spead the word of the Gospel and prayer was through letters. He started with Paul's letters. Paul spread the flame through his own intersession. Paul often began with a prayer. "When I think of you, I always give thanks for you." Paul taught us to pray for people we've never met. He showed us to be an agent between God and people. He gives prayers to the church then asks prayers for the church. "This is a wonderful pattern we can incorporate into our church," Harper said.

"I hope you can name a handful of people who are praying for you as you have promised to pray for them," he said.

The Youth Service Fund Offering was taken as members entered the convention center. Some $4,427.95 was collected.

Bishop Cho thank Bishop Hughes and his wife, Mera, for being with the conference.

The ballot for voting on Constitutional Amendments was redistributed.

The Rev. Clarence presented the report of Virginia United Methodist Pensions (VUMPI). Brown introduced Mr. John Fuller, new director of VUMPI. He also thanked Mrs. Betty Forbes who filled in as interim director. The 11 recommendations put before the conference were approved.

David Dommisse brough the report of the Statistician. Key church vitality statistics were mixed but professions of faith and small group participation increased this year. Since 2008, ethnic membership has grown 26 percent. If this continues in 2013, the ethnic membership will exceed 10 percent. Churches as a whole in 2012 had a positive financial year.

The report of the Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) was brought by Jeff Davis, president. Proposed 2014 Annual Conference Apportionments is $33,065,000. Many of the amounts in the conference budget have been reduced. The budget was approved.

CFA put a recommendation to the conference:

• CFA recommends that proceeds from the Church Extension and Development Fund Apportionment, effective Jan. 1, 2015, go to the Annual Conference Church Extension Fund to be dispersed according to the guidelines of the Church Development Team as approved by the Common Table.
• The 10 percent currently going to Ethnic Local Church Concern Grants administered through joint committee of the Commission on Ethnic Minority Concerns and Advocacy and the Grants Committee of the Common Table would be moved to the conference Mission and Ministry Apportionment.
• The 25 percent currently being returned to the districts will no longer be apportioned at the Conference level.
The recommendation was approved.

Larry Lenow presented the resolutions on behalf of the Resolutions Committee.

Resolution 1 - Defeat Poverty with Wages
Resolution 2 - Bulletin Statement - was ruled to be out of order.
Resolution 3 - Predatory lending practices - The resolution carried.

The results of the balloting for the Constitutional Amendments - They all were accepted.

The closing worship service started at 11:15.

Harold White Jr. led the opening prayer. 

Bishop Cho thanked everyone for their patience. "It has been a great joy and and honor for me to preisde. You have been so nice to this bishop." Thank you," Bishop Cho said. "Soon our gathering will adjourn, but our ministry with Jesus Christ will continue."

He related how 45 years earlier he was preparing for lung surgery. He read, "As I was with Moses, I will be with you." This message comforted him and he felt peace in his heart. The surgery did not go well because of bleeding and was in the operating room for over 28 hours. The doctors couldn't stop the bleeding so they left him in the operating room. "By the grace of God, the bleeding finally stopped. I believe this time is an additional gift from God.... That means, I am now 45 years old!"

Bishop Cho was in the hospital for three months and underwent another surgery. It was a long and painful time, but they were golden times for spiritual journey. "In all these times of suffering, the word God gave to me was the source of hope and strength," the bishop said.

Many of our pastors will be starting a new journey when they leave this place. "Each of begun anew, walking into a new future." He told how when he was serving Korean UMC of Greater Washington, he was reintroduced every year to the congregation they Sunday after annual conference. Every year they started anew.

"The future is also full of uncertainties," he said. "Some of those things that happen, we will not want. We have worries and anxieties. This is a natural, human response."

"The same God who spoke to Joshua is with us today," the bishop said. "The world is changing rapidly and the church has been struggling to follow these changes. Not everyone welcomes change. To turn around our failing churches will not be an easy task. But the Lord says, 'Do not be afriad, be strong and courageous.' Do not be frightened, be strong and courageous!"

"The promise of God is the foundation for us not to be afraid," Bishop Cho proclaimed. "God's promise to be with us can be burdensome news before it becomes good news. God knows our thoughts, our hearts, our every move. God knows about the lies we tell to evade difficult moments. There is not place we can hide from God. There is no privacy before the Lord," he said. "Where can you hide from the face of God? There is no place to hide. There is no place untouched by God's love. Friends, this is a huge burden for us to live with God who knows everything. The Good News is although we have so many shortcomings, God still does not give up on us, God still loves us. This is amazing grace."

"We need not worry about tomomrrow because we know Who is with us and Who will lead us. The Lord who first spoke to Joshua, speaks to us this morning," Bishop Cho said. 

The time came for the "Fixing of Appointments." Ushers handed out the Virginia United Methodist Advocate that contains the appointment list.
Click here to view the 2013-2014 Appointments (pdf).








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