Celebrating the Life of Bishop Mike Coyner
Bishop Julius Trimble and Bishop John Hopkins opened the Celebration of Life service by sharing personal stories about Bishop Mike Coyner and his influence on their lives and the lives of United Methodists throughout the denomination. Bishop Hopkins presented Marsha Coyner with flowers and a medallion. In turn, Marsha addressed the Conference, thanking members for their support through the last several months.

Rev. Dr. Aleze Fulbright opened the Celebration of Life Service with prayer and scripture. Rev. Dave Neckers preached on Proverbs 13:22, challenging the Conference to leave an inheritance through investing in the lives of others. The Conference then honored the lives of 46 clergy and 30 spouses who have joined the Church Triumphant during the last year.

Morning Plenary

Opening Business
Motion: “that we care for only those items on the approved agenda and do not handle any new items.” The motion passed (87%).

MaryAnn Moman made a motion to reconsider allowing new business after the stated business is completed today, if time allows, to be open to the Spirit. Greg Pimlott spoke in favor of her motion. No speeches were against. The decision was made to not vote on this motion.

Darlene White, Conference Secretary, announced that the official tally of registration for both lay and clergy on August 15, 2020 were as follows:

  • 1,268 Virtual Session
  • 310 On-site
  • 1,522 Total

Nominating Committee
Ed Fisher gave the Nominating Committee report.

Motion: “that the Conference Nominations Committee’s report be accepted as presented.”

The motion passed (98%).

Rules and Structure
Paul Wagner presented on behalf of the Rules and Structure Team.

Motion: “’take up from the table’ the Rules amendments and other remaining items brought by our Rules Committee.”

The motion passed (95.4%).

Paul Wagner then presented a motion to clarify the process described in Rule D.2.i.3, which allows a clear process for amending the Rules & Structure document so that everyone knows when deadlines are and how motions to amend will be handled.

The motion passed (96.9%).

Paul Wagner addressed previously-tabled motions in the order they were received.

Dan Gangler previously moved that the following be added to the conclusion of Section C.4.f. “The process and deadlines for submitting petitions and resolutions to the Annual Conference session shall be posted on the conference website and by email newsletter at least 160 days before the Annual Conference session.”

The motion passed (92%).

Jason Rice previously moved that a new rule D.4g be added. The Rules and Structure Team recommended a simplification, which Jason previously approved. The new “g” reads: “Any lay member who meets the conference/denominational membership requirements who are currently assigned by a Conference Superintendent or Resident Bishop are eligible to vote at the District Conference where they are assigned to serve.”

Crystal Jacobson, Jimmy Moore, and MaryAnn Moman spoke against this motion. Jason Rice, Stephen Robinson, and Kate Biggs spoke in favor.

The motion passed (57%).

Amy Atkinson previously submitted a motion that the Rules and Structure Team determined violated the Book of Discipline, so she withdrew it.

Amy Land submitted a similar motion that reads “Other provisions and rules notwithstanding, only laity may vote in district conference ballots to endorse laypeople willing to serve as General Conference delegates.”

Shannon Priddy, Albert Hildago and Joseph Easley spoke against the motion. Mike Womack and James Ottjes spoke in favor.

The motion passed 57.7(%).


Episcopal Address
Bishop Trimble shared an impassioned Episcopal Address entitled “Always – A Promise We Should Remember” based on Matthew 28:19-20, during which he encouraged members of the Conference to remember that God is with us always, even in the midst of life’s storms.

Rules and Structure
Paul Wagner spoke to 3 Questions of Rule of Law that John Lomperis had previously submitted. After reviewing the first two, corrections were made in the Rules and Structure document.

In response to his 3rd Question of Rule of Law, a motion was made to add, for clarification, the phrase “for which clergy are entitled to vote under the Book of Discipline in D.4.b and D.4.c.

The motion passed (94.9%).

Children Matter Most
Shannon Stringer addressed the Conference about Children Matter Most, an initiative prompted by Bishop Trimble, First Lady, and the Extended Cabinet. The Children Matter Most Steering Committee extended an invitation to members of the Annual Conference to specifically pray for children. They presented a resolution that will be submitted for a vote of affirmation at the 2021 Annual Conference session.

Representing the Board of Trustees, Teri Crouse moved “that the Annual Conference accept their report as submitted and presented.”

The motion passed (98.2%).

Celebrating Legacy Churches
Rev. Dave Neckers, Dean of the Appointive Cabinet, celebrated the following churches in the Central District that merged in the last year:

– Fortville merged with Gateway
– Horizons of Faith merged with Bethel
– Wesley merged with Bethel

The following churches disbanded in the last year:

– Central District: Whiteland
– Eas Districtt: Bartonia, Eastside (Connersville), Old Franklin
– North Central District: Hillsburg, Kokomo Faith
– North District: Grovertown
– Northwest District: Culver Poplar Grove, Deedsville, Santa Anna
– Southwest District: Rockport First
– West District: Crawfordsfille Trinity

Passing the Conference Cane
The Conference recognized the oldest ordained Elder by presenting the Conference Cane to 98-year-old Chester Mahan.

Blue Ribbon Task Team
Larry Whitehead recognized the members of the Blue Ribbon Task Force, which was tasked to examine the way the Conference is organized and make recommendations moving forward. He presented the Master Plan, including the reduction of 2 Conference Superintendents and 1 Conference Director.

Motion: “that the Blue Ribbon Task Team’s report be approved as presented.”

The motion passed (87.1%).

Paul Wagner presented five resolutions that were submitted to the Annual Conference. The first four resolutions were submitted by Rev. Mark Dicken, who withdrew them because his concerns were already addressed in the Rules and Structure adoption earlier in the session.

The final resolution was submitted by Rev. Riley Case, who also requested to withdrawl his resolution.

Council on Finance & Administration
Vice Chair of the Council on Finance & Administration Chris Lantz gave the Council on Finance & Administration’s report.

Motion: “that the Annual Conference approve the 2021 Annual Conference financial policies, as presented.”

The motion passed (94%).

Ian Hall gave the following financial update:

– INUMC has experienced a significant decline in tithe giving: -9% ($575,000) as of August 2020.
– INUMC received $1,232,685 as part of the Payroll Protection Plan which is expected to be forgiven.
– Department expense lines are currently below the 59% benchmark.

Chris Lantz summarized the proposed 2021 budget, which is broken into two sections:
A) $7M funds the mission and work of the Indiana Conference.
B) $4.3M funds the worldwide ministry of the United Methodist Church.

A + B = C, $11.3M, the total proposed budget for the Conference year 2021.

Shannon Stringer announced that $50,000 has been put toward anti-racism and gave an update on the Conference’s plan for making anti-racism more of a priority.

Motion: “that the Annual Conference approve the 2021 Annual Conference budget, as presented.”

The motion passed (90.7%).

Lisa Schubert Nowling presented a motion: “that develop a strategic plan that demonstrates our commitment to anti-racism and to actively dismantling systemic institutional racism in our Conference by January 31, 2021. I move that the Bishop, Extended Cabinet, Board of Ordained Ministry, and Board of Laity develop a specific plan that includes details of resource allocation, a timeline, and point people assigned to the strategies.”

Shannon Priddy spoke in support of the motion.

The motion passed (75.5%).

Closing Business
Darlene White shared that there were 76 new registrants for the second session of Annual Conference, bringing our total for today to 1,598 registered members.

Bishop Trimble has set the dates of June 10-12 for the 2021 Indiana Annual Conference at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana.