AC23 Recap: Saturday, June 10

June 12, 2023

Opening worship 

Saturday's opening worship service was led by the Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) and the Black Pastors Fellowship.

The service included the anointing of the newly licensed local pastors and newly certified Certified Lay Ministers. 

Licensed Local Pastors

Ji Min Bang 
Darlene Bearse 
Seunghea (Cindie) Chae 
Milton Da Silva 
Isaac Garrigues-Cortelyou 
David Jackson 
Mauren Juliao 
Sandy Dam 
Ben (Benjamin) Durfee 
Carolyn Greenwood 
Hannah (Hye Eun) Lee 
Micheal Leonard 
Alice Mello 
Joyce (Youngeun) Kang 

Certified Lay Ministers

Alice Mello 
Joyce (Youngeun) Kang 
Regina Blount 
Linda Howe
Rich Hughen 
Tracy Jaekel
Linda Keniston
Gail Underwood Parker 
Claire Piddock
Millie Victor 
Wendy Young  


Watch the Opening Worship



Received for Camperships  $3,784.19

Commissioning of Home Missioner

This year’s Annual Conference session included the commissioning of Home Missioner Steve Pierce. 

According to the United Women in Faith’s Office of Deaconess & Home Missioner, these are “laypeople who are called by God to be in a lifetime relationship in The United Methodist Church for engagement with a full-time vocation in ministries of love, justice, and service.”

Home Missioner Steve Pierce

New England has six Deaconesses. Pierce is the Conference’s only Home Missioner.

On April 15, 2023, Pierce was consecrated by Bishop Thomas Bickerton in New York City. At Saturday’s Annual Conference session, he was commissioned to serve in a specific ministry. For Pierce, who is a member of Leominster (MA) UMC, it will be continuing what he refers to as his vocational call “to work in finance and administration in churches and nonprofits.”

Read more about Steve Pierce
Watch the commissioning


Laity address

The 2023 Laity Address was delivered by Michele Fournier, a certified lay speaker and member of Oakdale UMC in West Boylston, MA. Fournier spoke about what our guiding scripture for this Annual Conference means when it calls us to “rejoice in the Lord always.”
“Paul’s exhortation to rejoice does not come from a position of feeling giddy or excited or any other emotional ‘high’ that we think of in 2023 as necessary to ‘feel’ the emotions connected with rejoicing,” Fournier said. “His was that dispensation given as a gift from the Holy Spirit to those who will make the hard decision to stand in the moment and find

Michele Fournier

Saying that “God has led me out of that pit of anger and depression,” Fournier explained: “God has also shown me how to rejoice when I don’t always ‘feel’ it, and to reduce the anxiety I tend to live in 24/7. But even more, God has shown me the importance of ‘drawing my circle wider …’” 
“If God is truly the center point of our lives and our churches, then no one should never stand alone,” Fournier said. “No one should never stand in a worship service without being lovingly drawn in so that we can understand and experience the joy that comes into our hearts when we rejoice in the Lord. 
“No one should ever stand alone with anxious thoughts racing and be terrified to tell someone that they just need the hug of fellowship … We should never allow ourselves or others to stand alone during times of sadness, grief or darkness.”
Fournier came to Oakdale UMC in 2012 as music director.  She said she “often reminds the congregation of Oakdale, [I] came there for a job, but stayed for the ‘family.’” Although officially retired from public school teaching, she is a full-time middle school English teacher at a small private school with no plans to “really retire.” 

Read the full text of the 2023 Laity Address
The Laity Address speaker is chosen by a committee of the Board of Laity from entrants in the Laity Address Challenge, who submit the text of their address and a 5-minute video. Laity Address speakers must use the Annual Conference theme and guiding scripture as the basis for their address.

Watch the Laity Address



Page numbers indicate where the item can be found in the Pre-Conference Materials (including addenda)

RS-23-117 Leadership/Nominations Slate – page 57 – approved – as amended
  • Amendment to add: “Move that this annual conference create an interim Ethnic Local Church Concerns Committee populated by the churches identified in the Black Churches Debt resolution June 9 and chairs of ethnic caucuses, committees, and commissions. Churches and groups may identify their representatives. Interim ELCC to be convened by the DCM.”  
RS-23-237 Election of NE United Methodist Foundation Board – approved
RS-23-211 Property Resolution page 81 – approved
RS-23-105 Health Insurance Co-Pay Premium – page 600 – approved
Approved the following resolutions to be sent to the 2024 General Conference 
RS-23-301 GC Allow Study To Be Fully Online – page 453 - approved
RS-23-302 Fossil Fuels to UM Investment Screens – page 453 – approved
RS-23-303 Adding Diversity to Our Theological Task – page 454 – approved
RS-23-304 Affirming Gender Identities – page 455 - approved
RS-23-305 Removing Mandatory Retirement – page 456 – approved
            Voted to suspend the rules to shorten debate to 2 speeches each pro/con for 2 minutes 
RS-23-306 Right to Peacefully Address Injustice – page 456 – approved
RS-23-307 Addressing Israeli Detention of Children – page 458 – approved
RS-23-308 Allow Cancellation Of A General Conference – page 460 – approved

State of the Conference Report

This year's report from the Cabinet comes in the form of a series of videos about ministries across the conference that are "drawing the circle wider still."