Monday, June 12, 2017

Annual Conference Whirlwind

Last week was Annual Conference time again! For the second year in a row, we met at a convention hotel in Disney Springs. Our Clergy session kicked off though bright and early on Thursday morning at St. Luke's UMC. It was wonderful to be together with our colleagues and to worship and to approve folks for licensing, commissioning, ordination and retirement. 

Our business sessions were held in the Citron Ballroom at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel and Spa. One of the first things we did was present all of the ordinands for the asking of the historic questions. I have had the great privilege of working with these folks for the last three years during their provisional period and I couldn't be prouder of them for seeing this process through and for the amazing things they are all accomplishing in their various ministry settings. 

Dr. Elaine Heath was one of our wonderful speakers during the week. She's the dean of Duke Divinity School and helped us see how the time period we are living in now with so much change is just one of the larger movements of systems change that have happened throughout history. 

Among the other business we attended too was the proposal to move from 9 districts to 8 districts, which passed by an overwhelming majority. 

A couple of our friends and special people from our church were recognized from up front. Here's Rev. Melissa Cooper in a video speaking on behalf of LEC Family. 

And here's Mike Standifer, being celebrated for 25 years of leading in camping ministries! 

And here's Elsa Kaye, also from our church with Pastor Loida in the Expo Hall. Elsa recently accepted a conference position as the Florida Conference Coordinator for the Florida-Cuba Covenant. She and her husband Glenn attended conference and were there at a special dinner when Bishop Pereria from Cuba and our Bishop Carter signed another 20 year covenant.

There were lots of CUMC sightings around Conference this year. Here we are with our delegates Will Cooper and Art and Judy Wadding. 

Riley Standifer also went as a conference youth delegate. 

Here's Melissa Cooper with Giselle Lawn and then Daryl with Glenn Kaye. 

We ran into the rest of the Standifer family too! 

The Young Adult Missional Movement presented delegate Will Cooper with a plaque - through our Missions program, Community UMC is the largest church supporter of the YAMM. 

I got to spend a little time with my covenant sisters. First at the Clergywomen Breakfast where we had the honor and privilege to hear from Bishop Sharma Lewis, the first African American woman to be elected as a bishop in the Southeast Jurisdiction of the UMC. She was a dynamo and definitely woke us up! 

And then again at the ordination service when Latricia was commissioned as a provisional elder! 

We managed to sneak in a bit of fun at Disney as well. We spent a couple of hours at Animal Kingdom. We ate in the new restaurant in the Pandora area - we ordered from our mobile phones before we arrived in the park! The food was delicious. Plus we saw Minnie and Mickey and rode a few rides. Davis tried Expedition Everest - the giant roller coaster - and LOVED it! 

All in all, it was a fantastic time at conference and we are always so thankful for the opportunity to spend time with our colleagues and to celebrate the awesome things happening around our conference! 

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