AC 2021: Thursday, June 10 recap

June 11, 2021

Here are the highlights from Thursday:

Episcopal Address

During the opening worship service, Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar delivered his annual Episcopal Address titled, "Building Beloved Community While in a Foreign Land," based on the AC21 guiding scripture Psalm 137:4 and Jeremiah 29:11-14.        

As we emerge into a new, post-COVID world, the bishop said, "Let us call on the Lord our God. Let us search God with all our hearts. Let us move forward together in a future filled with hope as we build our beloved community in new and exciting ways."

During his address each year, the bishop lays out his vision and proposals for the coming year:

  1. The bishop called on the Annual Conference to authorize the formation of a Vision Forward Team “to advance the strategic imagination and mission” for the New England Conference.
  2. As he does each year, Bishop Devadhar announced his recommended reading for the coming year. The bishop has selected "Faith After Doubt: Why Your Beliefs Stopped Working and What to do About It"  by Brian D. McLaren. Bishop Devadhar and the Conference will host McLaren for a series of four online discussions about his book beginning Sept. 13, 2021.
  3. The bishop asked that the Annual Conference reclaim the "Pastors Respite Fund," first proposed in 2018; it would be managed by the United Methodist Foundation of New England to provide for clergy needing respite in the case of a crisis or medical need. 
Read more about these


Consent Calendar  - approved

Vision Forward Team: Approved a motion from the floor to suspend the 24-hour notice rule and consider the bishop’s proposal for the Vision Forward Team. Members approved the plan as laid out in the Episcopal Address. 

21-114 — approved 

The budget adopted is $175,000 lower than what was presented in the Pre-Conference Materials:
$6,159,706 is the actual spending limit
$7,269,340 is the apportionment amount
The Board of Pensions, after the Pre-Conference Materials were released, agreed to absorb the $175,000 cost from Fund 3 for the Missional Pension/Benefits Fund.

21-211 — approved 

21-209 — approved 

Offerings received as of June 10, 2021:

  • Mission of Peace — $2,075
  • Ministerial Call Fund — $4,002.50
  • Justice in Our Time Fund — $4,827.50 
You can make a donation to any of these using this online form

Memorial Service

Click to see a slideshow of those remembered 

Rev. Dr. Charlotte Pridgen-Randolph was the 2021 Memorial Service preacher. Dr. Pridgen-Randolph, who is co-chair of the Board of


Ordained Ministry, serves the Newton (MA) UMC. 

Dr. Pridgen-Randolph preached on John 3:1-11 New Living Translation where Jesus teaches Nicodemus; a passage, she said, that's "worth reading over and over again."

“Your loved ones, our colleagues, mentors, friends, preachers, and teachers have completed their work. …
“The torch, the mantle is passed on to you and you and you and I to carry on the work, the ministry, making disciples, going on missions, righting wrongs, fighting for justice, being merciful when we’d rather not, and yes, actually loving some pretty unlovable people, even exercising forgiveness.”
All of which is possible, Dr. Pridgen-Randolph said, through God’s love.

Watch a recording of the 2021 Memorial Service
Find a list of Memorial Gifts

Laity Session

The 2021 Laity Session focused on the guiding Scripture for this year's Annual Conference: Psalm 137:4 NIV, "How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?" with reflections on that theme.

The laity heard reports from United Methodist Women, United Methodist Men, Deaconess & Home Missioner Ministry, and Lay Servant Ministries.

Watch a recording of the Laity Session