Kate Biggs opened the Laity Session with a call to worship, followed by a time of worship and a prayer led by Ginger Booker, Assistant Director of Lay Servant Ministries for the Northeast District. Kim Arnott, Conference Director of Lay Servant Ministries, introduced the laity manuscript winners for 2018: Ruth Esther Vawter and emerging leader Tiffany Duke. Each winner then delivered her winning manuscript to those in attendance.
Ruth Esther Vawter encouraged fellow laity to remember, observe, and be contagious; to not only “see all the people,” but to see all the people through the eyes of Jesus. Emerging leader Tiffany Duke challenged fellow laity to see all the people by reserving judgments based on physical appearance, supporting those in the LGTBQ+ community, and encouraging women in their call to seminary and ministry.
East District Associate Conference Lay Leader and District Lay Leader Scott Reed introduced Rev. Dr. Jacqui King, the Director of Leadership for Congregational Vitality for Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. Rev. Dr. King emphasized the mission, vision, and strategic practices for growing discipleship ministries. She encouraged all in attendance to “get out of the building” of the church and go into their communities to intentionally engage the people around them. Rev. Dr. King also shared about her personal ministry of asking, “how can I pray for you?” as opposed to the phrase “can I pray for you?” Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission and is called to be missional; therefore we must seek all the ways God is calling us to reach those around us.
The evening concluded with Natalie Macy giving details for a water bottle outreach ministry, encouraging all those in the laity session to grab specially-labeled water bottles as they exited, pray over them, and give them out as a show of love to the city of Indianapolis. Tiffany Duke led a closing prayer.