The Virginia Annual Conference met in Roanoke June 19-21.  Welborne was represented by Pastor Beth and Roma Colglazier.  Our intern, Elijah Ferebee, also attended.  The theme of annual conference, “From Members to Disciples” echoes Welborne’s mission statement, “to make disciples of Jesus Christ and prepare them to serve our community and the world.”   There were many highlights of Annual Conference, including:

  • Prayer undergirding the conference for our brothers and sisters in the African Methodist Episcopal Church following the tragic shooting at Emmanual AME on June 18.
  • The collection of 42,743 kits for the United Methodist Committee on Relief, exceeding last year by 1500 kits.  Kit totals were:

    Bedding kits: 111
    Birthing kits: 4,533
    Cleaning kits: 180
    Health kits: 23,672
    Layette kits: 1,965
    School kits: 11,835
    Sewing kits: 547

  • An offering of $128,890 collected toward a goal of $150,000 for Annual Conference partnerships with Cambodia, Ebola-ravaged Sierra Leone and Liberia, and poverty ministries in Virginia.  More funds for this offering are anticipated in coming weeks, based on past trends.
  • The collection of 8500 lbs of caned food for the Roanoke Rescue Mission as a gift to our host city.
  • The celebration of 91,000 lives saved in the Imagine No Malaria effort.  Donations are still being accepted through the end of August, with the goal of reaching the 100,000 lives benchmark (at $10 a life).  Of that total 5,056 lives were saved on Saturday morning alone through donations and commitments.
  • The election of delegates to the 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church in May in Portland, and to the 2016 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference of the United Methodist Church in July in North Carolina.  The General Conference meets every four years, and is the only body that can speak for the denomination.  The SEJ conference will elect at least five bishops for the Southeastern region.  Pastor Beth will once again be a part of the SEJ delegation.
  • The approval of a petition to General conference to remove the following language from the Book of Discipline: “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.”  The approval of this petition simply means that the delegates to the Virginia Annual Conference, by a vote of 989- 868, want General Conference to cindier this action.  It does not change the church’s current stance on this issue.  Emerson Shelton, Lay Leader, and Pastor Beth are exploring ways for us to have holy conversation as a faith community around this issue in the coming months.  Bishop Cho’s statement on the petition can be found here on the Annual Conference Website.