Rev. Grace Imathiu, hailing from Kenya, Africa, led a powerful teaching time, during which she likened Bible study to bringing together ingredients for a recipe. “We’ll get the work done together, then you go bake your pie,” she said.
Grace Imathiu looked at the “law” of our Annual Conference’s theme in Matthew 22:36-40 of Love God, Love Neighbor and compared it to the story of the Good Samaritan in Mark and “Love your neighbor” in Leviticus. “Follow this recipe for the sake of the world that is hungry, and the Recipe Maker will make bread that is life giving,” she said.
Rev. Duane Carlisle, Chair of the Committee on Nominations, announced that an addendum was made to their report with the names of each district’s Committee on Ordained Ministry as per yesterday’s request by Rev. Mary Ann Moman.
Motion: To approve the report as presented.
The motion passed.
Children Matter Most
Via video, Emma Bennett, Children Matter Most Intern, shared about her passion for the cause. Emily Krach, Associate Director of Leadership Development – Emerging Leaders, gave updates on how the committee has found new avenues to care for children, the most vulnerable in our midst.
The team then addressed the epidemic of gun violence. Rev. Angelo Mante encouraged the Conference to pray, address the root causes of violence and the idolatry of guns in our culture.
Rev. Jen Huff urged the Conference to contact the Senate to act to prevent gun violence. The team lit 27 candles representing the 27 school shootings that have occurred in 2022.
Lay Leader Address
David Johns, Conference Lay Leader, addressed the Conference. He estimated that 1,000 school kits have been collected thus far for the Missional Offering.
He answered the question, “Why am I United Methodist?” Before that, though, he expressed his devotion to Jesus and the Biblical commandment to serve. “I’m a United Methodist because of the fundamentals and beliefs of this denomination and its long history of bringing people to Jesus,” he said.
Commission on Race and Ethnicity (CORE)
Via video, Betty Hart, Chair of the Conference’s CORE, shared the committee’s goals of increasing cultural competency, reducing implicit bias, and learning our racist Methodist history. The group has produced resources, webinars, and workshops toward that end and plans to offer an Intercultural Development Inventory at all levels of the Conference to help achieve their goal of becoming an anti-racist Conference.
Retiring Clergy Recognition Service
58 Retirees were honored for their 1,282 combined years of faithful service. Rev. Joe Johnson announced that $1,000 will be given toward camp scholarships in their honor.
Rev. Chris Danielson, retiring elder, offered words of faith in his address “My Grace is Sufficient” based on 2 Corinthians 12:9. He reflected on his years of service through hymn lyrics. “I pray that: amazing grace descends upon you; sanctifying grace burns within you, and the strong melody of costly grace invites you to dance, to sing, to mourn, to rejoice with Jesus in the places where he calls you,” he said.
A group of Emerging Leaders expressed gratitude that, though they come from different places and believe different things, “We want to share Christ’s love. Together, we want to show God’s love.” They posed a challenge to the Conference: “Leaders, what if we found more ways to work together?”
Diversity, Missions, and Justice
Rev. Annettra Jones Stephens introduced new team members: Rev. Jen Huff as Missions Coordinator and LaToshia Everson as Conference Assistant. She shared that, “Racial diversity is in our communities, but it is not inside of our churches. We have an opportunity to increase our cultural competency so that we can create cultures of belonging and embody Loving God, Loving Neighbor. Every neighbor.”
The 2022 Anathoth Award winners were announced: Southport UMC (Indianapolis), Carmel UMC, and Community of Hope (Muncie).
Rev. Paul Wagner introduced Resolution #3 Womack Resolution “Providing Clarity for Congregations Disaffiliating in the Indiana Annual Conference”
Bishop Trimble ruled Resolution #3 out of order, as it supersedes action taken at General Conference.
Rev. Paul Wagner introduced Resolution #4 Northwest District and Pfaff Resolution “Symbolic Restitution to Indigenous Peoples by Churches of the Indiana Annual Conference”
Bishop Trimble ruled Resolution #4 out of order because “It takes authority we do not have to dictate the budget of a local congregation,” he said.
Rev. Glenn Howell, Director of Development for the United Methodist Foundation of Indiana, encouraged the Conference to be generous as it gives toward the Missional Offering. After all, “The Bible says more about refugees than it does about romance,” he said. He introduced Exodus Refugee, an Indiana organization that will be the recipient of a portion of our Missional Offering.
Board of Trustees
Rev. Teri Crouse, Chair of the Board of Trustees and the elected President of the Indiana Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, Inc., called to order the 2022 meeting of the corporation. She reported that 15 Conference properties were sold or disbursed in Indiana since our last report, for a total return to the Conference of $2,724,250, which will be used for new local church ministries.
In 2021 the Shera Farm fund returned earnings of $539,536. Five percent of the earnings were set aside to build the fund and protect against inflation. The Board of Trustees distributed $512,559. Beneficiaries included Operation Classroom, Volunteers in Mission, and the Indiana Conference retiree health insurance subsidy fund.
In 2022, 29 congregations disaffiliated from The United Methodist Church. The total amount for these disaffiliations was $4,509,068.93.
Motion: The Board of Trustees moves that the Indiana Annual Conference ratify the disaffiliation of the 29 churches as listed.
The motion passed.
The Board of Trustees moves the Annual Conference accept their report as presented.
The motion passed.
Teri Crouse adjourned the 2022 meeting of the corporation.
Via video, Rev. Lore Blinn Gibson, Dean of the Cabinet and Conference Superintendent for the Northwest District, and Rev. Mitch Gieselman, Conference Superintendent for the South and Southeast Districts, represented the Cabinet. They shared that, collectively, they are “A covenant community, learning and living into the covenant and into the community that is committed to being life-long learners, readily confessing our lack of perfection and need to continue to grow in matters of spiritual, personal and professional development.”
In person, the duo asked the Conference: Where is God inviting us to see Christ in another person? They challenged churches “to engage in discernment before any major decision making.”
In a teary moment, Mitch Gieselman said, “When we are fractured as the body of Christ, as the human family, our witness is compromised. I don’t think God is honored. When we are growing into Christ, the world gets a glimmer of the image of God in us.”
Rev. Lore Blinn Gibson, Dean of the Cabinet and Conference Superintendent for the Northwest District, recognized 21 churches for their many years of changing lives, though they disbanded in the last year.
Via video, Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development, shared “It inspires us that many of our churches continue to have dreams of multiplication.” Several churches were featured for their Fresh Expressions: Jacob Finger UMC, Otterbein UMC (Indianapolis), and Monticello First UMC. “Church Development wants to help your multiplication dreams become a reality,” he said.
Rev. Paula Mayberry addressed the recent fire at Lucille Raines. The damage was restricted to a small part of the building and repairs need to be done, though they suffered the devastating loss of a life. “God has been with us in all kinds of situations and circumstances…and with God’s help, we’ll keep going,” she said.
Rev. Darren Cushman–Wood asked for a ruling of law. He claimed that Bishop was infringing on the authority to designate what constitutes another evangelical denomination per ¶2548.2 by ruling Resolution #3 out of order.
Bishop Trimble requested a written request by the end of Conference and said that he would respond within 30 days.
Celebration of Life Service
Rev. Andy Payton, grandson of recently-deceased Rev. LD Payton, opened the Celebration of Life Service with words of greeting. Bishop Trimble offered an opening prayer.
As an act of remembering, those grieving were invited to write a word or phrase on a strip of fabric describing the legacy of their loved one.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber’s message “Under a Cloud” was based on Matthew 22:34-39. “I understand that tonight you’re under a cloud. We can say we’re here to celebrate life, and we are…here to give God thanks and praise for lives well lived…yet there is a cloud that hangs over us, a cloud of grief and loss,” he said.
The Conference honored the lives of 46 clergy and 27 spouses who have joined the Church Triumphant in the last year by lighting candles in their memory.
Holy Communion was shared.
The community joined as one by holding one another’s pieces of fabric, offering love and support for those grieving.
Derek Weber offered a benediction.