2017
Annual
Conference

Sunday Morning, June 18

Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett started the day leading a Bible study. Yesterday she used soil to illustrate her lesson. Today she is using "song." She talked about the genres of song, from Gospel to Rap. Then she talked about the rhythm of sound. The bishop shared she was a drummer in her young days. She tried to play louder. That was hard, but she could keep the rhythm. It's what sustains the song. Paul and Silas knew how to keep the rhythm. "I want to have a rhythm in my spiritual life that will allow me to show mercy and piety," she said. "Finally, there's a tune to God's new song," Wallace-Padgett said. "The tune can affect us after hearing it just one time." It helps when God's new song is "sung in pitch," she said. There is only one in 10,000 persons who have perfect pitch, she said. "I need musicians to help me start of on key. When it comes to spiritual matters, there is only one who has perfect pitch -- Jesus Christ."

Daniel Renner from Burnt Factory, Winchester District, led in prayer.

The Rev. Stan Thompson, chair of the minutes committee, gave his report. Bishop Lewis recognized members of the minutes committee.

A Glory Sighting video featuring women of Cambodia was played.

David Dommisse gave the report of the statistician and treasurer. He used his staff, Tina Gudgel, Carol Draper, and Kate Potts, to illustrate the numbers. Membership is down but giving is up. The conference reserves have risen from a negative to a positive.

Betty Forbes, president of the Council on Finance and Administration, gave  her report (beginning on page 129 in Book of Reports). They are celebrating the estsablishment of a Wesley Foundation at Virginia State. Clergy benefits remain unchanged again this year. CFA has asked permission to sell two acres of land that the conference owns adjacent to the assembly center in Blackstone. It was approved.

Another Glory Sighting video featuring the Wesley Foundation at Virginia Tech was played.

Bethel UMC in Virginia Beach is a small church that was recognized by Don Jamison of the the conference Board of Discipleship. It has been declining financially and in members. They were afraid they would close. In July 2014 a new pastor was appointed. They revamped programs, invited children and they had a confirmation class. The progress has been slow in professions of faith, but that doesn't reflect the increase in membership. Bethel received the first One Matters Discipleship Award.

Jamison announced the Harry Denman Evangelism Award recipients. The clergy award goes to the Rev. Reggie Tuck, pastor of Messiah, Alexandria District. The laity award recipient is Johnnie Morris of Journey UMC in Amelia.  The youth award recipient is Nicole Kent of Cunningham, Charlottesville District.

A Glory Sighting featuring the Hispanic ministry at Belmont UMC, Richmond District.

The Rev. Mochel Morris came to the stage for Resolutions (beginning on page 167, Book of Reports).

Resolution 5 - Hydraulic Fracturing Oil and Gas. The committee recommends concurrence. The resolution passed.

Resolution 4 - Resolution on Holy Land Travel. The resolution passed.

Mary Dadisman gave another COSROW report on monitoring at conference. She thanked CEMCA for their assistance. She gave numbers of people appearing on stage by breakdown of clergy and laity, men and women, age, and ethnicity.

Martha Stokes and Chris Henderson presented the new logo for Virginia United Methodist Homes. Homes also has a new mission statement, "Enriching life's journey." A video was played recounting its 70-year history. A team explored a name change. The new name is "Pinnacle Living."

The bishop announced that $113,000 has been collected for the conference offering. Goal is $200,000. Funds will still be accepted to reach the goal. The youth will collect money for the Youth Service Fund during the break.

The bishop recognized Virginia Annual Conference staff.

A Glory Sighting video was played featuring "Cars for Christ," at West End UMC, Elizabeth River District, the Rev. Lynda Moore, pastor.

Closing Worship began at 11 a.m. It is being live streamed to churches around the conference may participate. The Rev. Beth Anderson issued the Call to Worship. The Rev, Ashley Allen gave the Prayer for Illumination. The Rev. Marcela Jarman read the Scripture from Habakkuk 2:2-3. Bishop Lewis' sermon is titled, "Can You See It?" Bishop Lewis wished fathers, and father figures everywhere a Happy Father's Day.

Bishop Lewis shared that she had taken time to learn about the "four Virginias," and implemented the Chat and Chews, traveling to all districts to have sessions with clergy and laity. The Bible says in Proverbs that without a vision the people perish. "When people attend to what God reveals they are most blessed," she said. She said the Bible contains people who had a clearly defined vision. The importance of visioning is birthed out of a concern. It often begins with the inability to accept the things the way they are. A vision brings clarity. "We need clarity to be able to focus. God does not want us wandering the wilderness. It also carries with it a sense of moral conviction. Anyone can be a vision caster. They will tell you it's something that not only could be done but should be done. For example fighting against violence, food scarcity," she said. Vision evokes emotion. "This annual conference has evoked some emotion," the bishop said. A vision provides motivation, she said. "How many of you are motivated to get back to your churches?" she asked. Visions set direction, she said. "A vision translates a purpose. People who have a vision find new, creative, fresh and innovative ways to do ministry. I had said this in the Chat and Chews," Bishop Lewis said.

"Leaders passion, plus the congregation, plus the community needs, equals a shared vision," she repeated several times. "When they intersect is when God speaks."

The bishop then talked about kairos time. "Kairos time is the God's time," she said. It's when we go off script and listen to God, and not the kronos or chronological time. "Sometimes it doesn't make sense when God gets you off script. It may feel confusing, but God isn't confusing."

The bishop said, "After much prayer, discernment, sharing, compiling data of the 32 sessions, our ministry vision for the Virginia Annual Conference is 'to be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners, who influence others to serve.'

"Wouldn't it be powerful if all of Virginia is on the same page with our intentional discipleship making?" she asked. "Where's your circle of influence?" she asked. "Golf course, nail salon, friends, church?"

She said a person of influence enlarges people, navigates for other people, connects with people, empowers people and reproduces other influences.

The bishop said, "Virginia Annual Conference we have work to do. I tried to give something that we can remember. I want you to go home and you need to say I am a lifelong learner, I am an influencer, I am a servant. Let's give God some praise. It's time stir up the gifts. It's time to do a new thing."

Walking among the people, then standing on a chair, the bishop said, "I need you. Young adults, I need you. Older adults, I need you. You don't always learn what to do. You learn what not to do."

I know it's not prim and proper to be standing on a chair, but I'm going for broke," she said. "I'm going to let you in on a secret. Many of you are saying you don't see it. That's okay. I'm going to be here four years and I'm going to help you see it!" 

"Jesus is my thing. Discipleship is my thing," she stated.

The district superintendents came forward to fix the appointments. 

Bishop Lewis said she has enjoyed these last two and half days. If my arms were long enought and wide enough I would take y'all and hug you. We've seen God move like never before." She thanked the musicians and called the 235th session to a close singing, "Let the Church say Amen."

 

 

 

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