Here's what happened on Friday:
The opening worship on Friday included the 2021 Laity Address. The winner of the 2021 Laity Address Challenge is Heather Josselyn-Cranson, lay leader of Sudbury (MA) UMC.
Those who will be ordained as full members were asked the Historical Questions by Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar.
Watch a recording of the day's business
Rev. Dr. Jay Williams raised a question of law regarding the presentation of the resolutions for disaffiliation (RS-21-213, 214 and 215). The motion for all three churches was made via one video that included the pastors and lay members of the congregations of Chebeague Island, Hope.Gate.Way and Tuttle Road UMCs. Dr. Williams' question of law states:
Is it permissible for a clergy member of the annual conference to move a motion for disaffiliation of a local congregation; further, is it permissible for speeches to be made via video by persons who are not members of Annual Conference when the body has not voted to admit them with voice to the meeting?
By Discipline the Bishop has 30 days to write his response, then the matter goes to the Judicial Council for a decision.
Pre-Conference Materials, page 113, line 10:
The New England Annual Conference [add colon] Line 11 insert new 1.) calls upon the Bishop, Extended Cabinet, and Board of Ordained Ministry to collaborate in the creation and practice of policies that minimize the potential for, or appearance of, conflicts of interest, particularly as they relate to clergy, real estate purchases, and pastoral charges exploring or seeking disaffiliation. [re-number as needed]. This work shall include gathering an ad hoc advisory team that includes lay, licensed, commissioned, and ordained clergy to do theological reflection.
Celebration and Awards
The evening event, which was pre-recorded, was one of celebration and recognition that included the following:
State of the Conference Report
Rev. Jill Colley Robinson, Green Mountain District Superintendent and Dean of the Cabinet, delivered the annual State of the Conference Report.
Read the State of the Conference Report
Click to see a slideshow
2021 Class of Retirees
The Conference celebrated nearly 500 years of combined service honoring this year's retirees.
Click to see a slideshow
Licensed Local Pastors
New Licensed Local Pastors were recognized as part of this celebration.
Watch a video featuring the 2021 Taylor Fellowship honorees
The Preachers' Aid Society of New England presented Taylor Fellowship grants to four New England Conference retired clergy persons:
Mark Monson Alley
Mary Jane O'Connor-Ropp
Watch the 2021 One Matters Award presentation
One Matters Awards
The One Matters Awards are presented annually by the New England Conference Office of Congregational Development in conjunction with Discipleship Ministries. The awards recognize churches that, in 2020, received a high percentage of professions of faith (relative to average worship attendance), baptized both children and adults, and are focused on the process of making disciples of Jesus Christ. Each church will receive a plaque and a check for $1,000.
This year’s recipients are:
Highgate Center UMC in Vermont
First UMC in Southbridge, MA
St John’s UMC in Jefferson, NH