AC19: Thursday, June 13 recap

See more photos in the galleries at right

June 13, 2019

Blessing of the space

Pat Parent, Chair of the Conference Committee on Native American Ministries, led the blessing of the space before the start of the 2019 Annual Conference Session. 

Blessing of the space 2019 AC from New England Conference UMC on Vimeo.

Episcopal Address

In a departure from tradition, Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar gave his annual Episcopal Address immediately following the opening worship that began the 2019 New England Annual Conference session on Thursday morning, June 13.

“We invite all to the table because holy communion is a means of grace, and we want to extend that means of grace to all,” the bishop said, adding “as so many of our churches have affirmed, all means all.”
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Laity Session

Justice was the central theme for the Laity Session's Bible study and with reflections by Board of Laity members Stephanie Cyr, Bonnie-jean Rowe and Karen Cassidy who spoke on the Conference’s guiding scripture, Micah 6:8 (NRSV): “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
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Delegate elections

The clergy elected their three delegates to General Conference 2020 on Thursday afternoon: 
Jay Williams
Becca Girrell
Effie McAvoy

The laity elected two of three delegates to General Conference 2020:
Bonnie Marden
Amanda Bonnette-Kim


The Annual Conference considered two resolutions - both pertaining to the decisions of General Conference 2019. 

19-210 COMMISSIONING THE OPEN SPIRIT TASK FORCE - was adopted. The resolution would create a task force "to examine whether and how United Methodists of New England might align with, create, or form a new church body in the Methodist tradition (independently or in collaboration with others)"

The Open Spirit Task Force will be made up of no more than 25 people, identified by the Conference Committee on Leadership/Nominations before the close of the 2019 session. Nominations were being accepted upon adoption. 

19-211 PROCEDURE FOR DISCERNMENT ABOUT DISAFFILIATION - was adopted as amended; a request was made for a ruling of law.
The resolution would add specific procedures to the new Paragraph 2553 of the Book of Discipline adopted by General Conference 2019, which allows for local churches to disaffiliate from the denomination “over issues related to human sexuality.”
The resolution calls for the local church/ministry setting to seek input regarding the impact of disaffiliation from various entities in the Conference. The resolution was amended to add a time frame for that input - requiring entities to give an initial response within 30 days. 
The Rev. Tom Bentum requested a ruling of law regarding the resolution, which he said conflicts with Paragraph 2553. Bishop Devadhar has 30 days to issue his ruling. 


The 2019 class of retirees was recognized on Thursday afternoon, and they offered some advice to the 2019 class of ordinands: "Remember that life in ministry is like driving on a one-way street, full of intersections, in a car that has no reverse gear. You will always need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to indicate when and where to turn and go."
This year's retirees are:
Daniel Ames 
Ernest Belisle 
Louis Bond 
James Boughman 
Joseph Chamberland 
Casey Collins 
Christopher Dare 
Mark Goad
Stacey Lanier 
Lynn McCracken 
James McPhee 
Michael Morris 
James Proctor 
Valerie Roberts-Toler 
Richard Whitefleet-Smith

Mission Celebration

Thursday evening was dedicated to celebrating mission in New England and around the world. Read more