2022 Indiana Annual Conference

THURSDAY MORNING

Opening Worship

The worship band The Many, hailing from Chicago, led the conference in opening worship. 

Bishop Gregory Palmer of the West Ohio Conference greeted the Indiana Conference as a special guest. He then presented Bishop Julius C. Trimble of the Indiana Conference.

Trimble opened the 2022 Indiana Annual Conference session with prayer on June 9.

Before his episcopal address “Walking in Grace,” Trimble challenged attendees to “Love God, Love Neighbor,” referring to the 2022 Annual Conference theme. “If I abide in him, I ought to walk as Christ walked,” he said. “Walking in grace, I have learned that I never have to walk alone.”

Referring to churches that may choose to disaffiliate, he offered, “If you are leaving The United Methodist Church … you are not my enemy. We are all children of the most high God. Some may choose to walk another trail, but I trust that making disciples of Jesus Christ will be our common hymn.”

He concluded, “Let’s walk together, pray together, work together, and love God and neighbor together.”

Deacon Rev. Angelo Mante and Trimble presented Holy Communion. 

Plenary 

“We gather in the name of Jesus to do our work as we worship together, learn from one another and discern a path for our ministry together as we seek to love God, love neighbor,” Trimble said as he opened the plenary session.

Opening Business

Chris Mahon, conference secretary, presented Ballot 1, including the following three motions:

Motion: I move that the voting bar, or legal limits, of the conference be designated as members seated on the main floor of the auditorium and on the stage.

The motion passed.

Motion: I move that all votes and decisions made during this annual conference shall be legal and binding.  

The motion passed.

Mahon then brought the following motion: I move that the schedule, reports and documents that have been appropriately posted and available to all members of the conference, be received as the official documents that are ready for action and will guide our time together.

The motion passed.

Rules and Structure

The Rev. Paul Wagner offered an update from the 2020 Annual Conference session. He then presented the 2022 rules and structure document. 

Motion: I move that the rules and structure document be accepted as presented and then added to the record of this conference session. 

The motion passed. 

Nominating Committee

The Rev. Duane Carlisle, chair of the nominations committee, presented their report via inumc.org/nominations. He encouraged people to fill out the conference volunteer form posted online.

The Rev. Mary Ann Moman made a point of order, stating that The Book of Discipline 666 requires that ministry committees must be voted on.

Carlisle said that — though this is not something they have done in the past— it could be produced and offered tomorrow as an addendum. The nominations report was tabled.

Consent Calendar

Wagner presented the consent calendar. 

Motion: I move that the board, agency and committee reports listed on the conference website under the heading “Consent Calendar” be accepted and added to the record of this conference session.

The motion passed. 

First Lady Address

First Lady Racelder Grandberry-Trimble brought a video greeting. She read excerpts of the children’s book “Breathing Makes It Better: A Book for Sad Days, Mad Days, Glad Days, and All the Feelings In-Between” by Christopher Willard and Wendy O’Leary. She encouraged the conference to “Be still,” her phrase for 2022. She concluded her address with “I love you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

THURSDAY AFTERNOON 

Council on Finance and Administration

Pastor Rodney Frieden, chair of the Council on Finance and Administration, introduced David Robinson, the conference’s new chief financial officer and director of finance and administration, and thanked Heidi Harding, conference treasurer, for her faithful work.  

At the end of 2021, the total income equaled $12,018,142. 

Expenditures totaled $12,017,450, netting a $692 surplus, which became part of conference reserves. The Indiana Conference’s 2021 general church apportionment payment was $4,559,526, which was 100% of the anticipated ask.  

Frieden presented the proposed 2023 conference budget of $7,040,053. 

2020 General/Jurisdictional Delegation

The Rev. Russ Abel, chair of our delegation and conference superintendent for the East and Northeast Districts, offered an update on the delegation. 

Jurisdictional Conference was held on November 10-11, 2021, via Zoom. The Jurisdictional Conference passed the “Covenant to Build Beloved Community,” which included the following: 

  • Confession for our sin in not confronting social issues that have caused great harm. 
  • To work with others who are standing against racism and colonialism. 
  • An affirmation that Christ has opened the church to people of all sexual orientations and to avoid pursuing charges against pastors and churches who perform-allow same gender weddings. And, to allow all persons to follow the call of God toward ordination. 
  • To honor episcopal leadership and leaders. Also, calling for a Special Jurisdictional Conference to elect new bishops, which is scheduled for November 2-5, 2022, in Fort Wayne, Ind. 
  • To treat churches, members and pastors who choose to leave The United Methodist Church with respect and do no harm toward them. 

Abel closed by inviting those in attendance to sing “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand.”

He requested a point of personal privilege, which Trimble granted. He then made a motion for the endorsement of Fulbright as an episcopacy candidate. 

Motion: I move that the Indiana Conference endorse Fulbright as an episcopacy candidate.

The motion passed.

Fulbright addressed the Conference, stating that she is “humbled by its affirmation.” 

The Connection

Stringer shared via video about the connectional style of polity. 

United Methodist Foundation of Indiana 

Manet Shettle, Executive Officer of the United Methodist Foundation of Indiana, reported that in 2021, funds earned 201 local congregations in Indiana $4,740,731 to spend on ministry within their communities and congregations. She then offered Trimble a check for $226,970 to subsidize retiree health insurance. 

Two board members, Forrest Bowers and Ian Hall, stepped off of the UMFI Board during the year, and Scott Green will step down on June 30. Monte Chamberlin, the Rev. Teri Crouse, Shelley Johnson, Jim Need and Craig Wood are returning for their third term. Daryl Gilbert, Chris Lantz, and Margaret Wood will join the board. 

Motion: I move that the Annual Conference affirm the incoming slate of board members. 

The motion passed.

Board of Pension and Health Benefits 

Susan Spaulding, chair of the Board of Pension and Health Benefits, announced that the Rev. Steve Conger will become the new board chair following this year’s annual conference. 

Personal participation in the retirement program by eligible clergy and laity remained strong. During 2021, the Indiana Conference and churches contributed more than $3 million in matching contributions to participant retirement accounts. Total clergy and laity participants in the conference health plan in 2021 was 407. 

Participants contributed more than $800,000 to their health accounts, and the conference added another $200,000 to those accounts.  Susan Spaulding submitted Plenary Action Item 4.

Motion: I move that 

  1. That the past service rate for pre-1982 service be set at $807 per year for CY2023, an increase of 2.5%. 
  2. That the monthly church contribution for health coverage be increased by 10%. 
  3. That this report, in its entirety, be approved as presented in the written report. 

The motion passed.

THURSDAY EVENING 

Missional Offering

Executive Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries Larry Whitehead gave an update that the missional offering as of 6:31 p.m. was $29,747.20.

Petitions and Resolutions 

Wagner gave an update on the three resolutions passed in 2021. Resolutions #1 and #2 will be reported on during the Children Matter Most presentation on Friday. For Resolution #3, Abel reported that the delegation treated one another as siblings in Christ, though they may have disagreed.

Wagner reported that Resolution #2 “Voting on Candidates for Ministry” has been resolved by the Board of Ordained Ministry, and the submitter, Alisa Isaacs-Bailey, voluntarily withdrew her resolution. 

Resolution #1 entitled “Building Beloved Community” was submitted by the Rev. Lisa Schubert Nowling. 

The Rev. Chris Gadlage made a point of order stating that he believes that Resolution #1 is out of order because it negates or violates The Book of Discipline in several sections.

After deliberation, Trimble ruled that Resolution #1 would be allowed.

The author of the resolution, Nowling, introduced the resolution. 

Rod Slone and John Shive spoke against the resolution. The Rev. Ronnie Bell spoke in favor of the resolution. 

The Rev. Lore Blinn Gibson raised a point of order that charge conference forms cost appoximately $10,000. Because there is a significant cost, Wagner suggested that it could be referred to CFA.

Nowling suggested an amendment, changing line 24 to read Fall 2023 instead of Fall 2022 thus avoiding additional cost.

Motion: To amend line 24 to read Fall 2023 instead of 2022. 

The motion passed.

A vote count was requested, which requires 1/3 of the body’s approval. 

Motion: To take a vote count.

The motion did not pass. 

Albert Hidalgo and Joe Boggs spoke in favor of the resolution. Karen Zimmerman spoke against the resolution.

The Rev. Joseph Seger raised a point of order asking if Resolution #1 would be out of order. If passed, it would not uphold what was done at the Special Called General Conference in 2019. He argued that by allowing Jurisdictional Conference to dictate our actions, the conference would be acting contrary to the United Methodist position of having the General Conference direct our conference. 

Michele Gerke suggested an amendment to line 28, presenting our findings in 2024, not 2023. It was made as an editorial correction to the resolution.

Motion: To approve the amended Resolution #1.

The motion required a vote count. The motion did not pass. 

402 – Yes

410 – No

4 – Abstained 

The Rev. Jerry Rairdon requested a written ballot. 

Motion: To have a written ballot.

The motion did not pass. 

Missions Operations Team

The Rev. Jen Huff, conference missions coordinator, reported via video that $915,284.23 was given this past year. She announced two filled roles this past year: the Rev. Anne Kumeh as the United Methodist Volunteers in mission coordinator and Zachary Manton as conference secretary for Global Ministries.

Huff reported that there are currently 26 people across eight districts who are certified as Early Response Team members. 

The evening ended with an ice cream social. 

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FRIDAY MORNING 

Teaching Time

The Rev. Grace Imathiu, from Kenya, Africa, led a teaching time, during which she likened Bible study to bringing together ingredients for a recipe. “We’ll get the work done together, then you go bake your pie,” she said.

Imathiu looked at the “law” of our Annual Conference’s theme in Matthew 22:36-40 of Love God, Love Neighbor and compared it to the story of the good Samaritan in Mark and “Love your neighbor” in Leviticus. “Follow this recipe for the sake of the world that is hungry, and the Recipe Maker will make bread that is life giving,” she said.

Nominations Committee

Carlisle, chair of the Committee on Nominations, announced that an addendum was made to their report with the names of each district’s Committee on Ordained Ministry as per yesterday’s request by Moman. 

Motion: To approve the report as presented.

The motion passed.

Children Matter Most

Via video, Emma Bennett, Children Matter Most intern, shared about her passion for the cause. Emily Krach, associate director of leadership development – emerging leaders, gave updates on how the committee has found new avenues to care for children.  

The team then addressed gun violence. Mante encouraged the conference to pray, address the root causes of violence and the idolatry of guns in our culture.

Huff urged the Conference to contact the Senate to act to prevent gun violence. The team lit 27 candles representing the 27 school shootings that have occurred in 2022. 

Lay Leader Address 

David Johns, conference lay leader, addressed the Conference. He estimated that 1,000 school kits have been collected thus far for the Missional Offering.

He answered the question, “Why am I United Methodist?” Before that, though, he expressed his devotion to Jesus and the Biblical commandment to serve. “I’m a United Methodist because of the fundamentals and beliefs of this denomination and its long history of bringing people to Jesus,” he said. 

Commission on Race and Ethnicity 

Via video, Betty Hart, Chair of the Conference’s CORE, shared the committee’s goals of increasing cultural competency, reducing implicit bias, and learning our racist Methodist history. The group has produced resources, webinars, and workshops toward that end and plans to offer an Intercultural Development Inventory at all levels of the Conference to help achieve their goal of becoming an anti-racist Conference. 

Retiring Clergy Recognition Service

58 Retirees were honored for their 1,282 combined years of faithful service. The Rev. Joe Johnson announced that $1,000 will be given toward camp scholarships in their honor. 

Rev. Chris Danielson, retiring elder, offered words of faith in his address “My Grace is Sufficient” based on 2 Corinthians 12:9. He reflected on his years of service through hymn lyrics. “I pray that: amazing grace descends upon you; sanctifying grace burns within you, and the strong melody of costly grace invites you to dance, to sing, to mourn, to rejoice with Jesus in the places where he calls you,” he said.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON

Emerging Leaders

A group of Emerging Leaders expressed gratitude that, though they come from different places and believe different things, “We want to share Christ’s love. Together, we want to show God’s love.” They posed a challenge to the Conference: “Leaders, what if we found more ways to work together?” 

Diversity, Missions, and Justice

Rev. Annettra Jones Stephens introduced new team members: Huff as missions coordinator and LaToshia Everson as conference assistant. She shared that, “Racial diversity is in our communities, but it is not inside of our churches. We have an opportunity to increase our cultural competency so that we can create cultures of belonging and embody loving God, loving neighbor. Every neighbor.”  

The 2022 Anathoth Award winners were announced: Southport United Methodist Church (Indianapolis), Carmel United Methodist Church and Community of Hope (Muncie).  

Resolutions

Wagner introduced Resolution #3 Womack Resolution “Providing Clarity for Congregations Disaffiliating in the Indiana Annual Conference.”

Trimble ruled Resolution #3 out of order, as it supersedes action taken at General Conference. 

Wagner introduced Resolution #4 Northwest District and Pfaff Resolution “Symbolic Restitution to Indigenous Peoples by Churches of the Indiana Annual Conference.”

Trimble ruled Resolution #4 out of order because “it takes authority we do not have to dictate the budget of a local congregation,” he said.

Generosity

The Rev. Glenn Howell, director of development for the United Methodist Foundation of Indiana, encouraged the conference to be generous as it gives toward the missional offering. “The Bible says more about refugees than it does about romance,” he said. He introduced Exodus Refugee, an Indiana organization that will be the recipient of a portion of our missional offering.

Board of Trustees

Crouse, chair of the Board of Trustees and the elected president of the Indiana Conference, called to order the 2022 meeting of the corporation. She reported that 15 conference properties were sold or disbursed in Indiana since the last report, for a total return to the conference of $2,724,250, which will be used for new church ministries.  

In 2021 the Shera Farm fund returned earnings of $539,536. 5% of the earnings were set aside to build the fund and protect against inflation. The Board of Trustees distributed $512,559. Beneficiaries included Operation Classroom, Volunteers in Mission and the Indiana Conference retiree health insurance subsidy fund. 

In 2022, 29 congregations disaffiliated from The United Methodist Church. The total amount for these disaffiliations was $4,509,068.93. 

Motion: The Board of Trustees moves that the Indiana Annual Conference ratify the disaffiliation of the 29 churches as listed.  

The motion passed.

The Board of Trustees moves the Annual Conference accept their report as presented. 

The motion passed.

Crouse adjourned the 2022 meeting of the corporation.

Cabinet

Via video, Gibson, dean of the cabinet and conference superintendent for the Northwest District, and the Rev. Mitch Gieselman, conference superintendent for the South and Southeast Districts, represented the cabinet. They shared that, collectively, they are “A covenant community, learning and living into the covenant and into the community that is committed to being lifelong learners, readily confessing our lack of perfection and need to continue to grow in matters of spiritual, personal and professional development.”

In person, the duo asked the Conference: “Where is God inviting us to see Christ in another person?” They challenged churches “to engage in discernment before any major decision making.” 

In a teary moment, Mitch Gieselman said, “When we are fractured as the body of Christ, as the human family, our witness is compromised. I don’t think God is honored. When we are growing into Christ, the world gets a glimmer of the image of God in us.”

Legacy Churches

Gibson, dean of the cabinet and conference superintendent for the Northwest District, recognized 21 churches for their many years of changing lives, though they disbanded in the last year.  

Church Development

Via video, Ed Fenstermacher, associate director of church development, shared: “It inspires us that many of our churches continue to have dreams of multiplication.” Several churches were featured for their Fresh Expressions: Jacob Finger United Methodist Church, Otterbein United Methodist Church (Indianapolis) and Monticello First United Methodist Church. “Church Development wants to help your multiplication dreams become a reality,” he said.

Lucille Raines

The Rev. Paula Mayberry addressed the recent fire at Lucille Raines. The damage was restricted to a small part of the building and repairs need to be done, though they suffered the devastating loss of a life. “God has been with us in all kinds of situations and circumstances … and with God’s help, we’ll keep going,” she said.

The Rev. Darren Cushman–Wood asked for a ruling of law. He claimed that the bishop was infringing on the authority to designate what constitutes another evangelical denomination per 2548.2 by ruling Resolution #3 out of order.

Trimble requested a written request by the end of conference and said that he would respond within 30 days.  

FRIDAY EVENING

Celebration of Life Service

The Rev. Andy Payton, grandson of recently-deceased the Rev. LD Payton, opened the Celebration of Life Service with words of greeting. Trimble offered an opening prayer.

As an act of remembering, those grieving were invited to write a word or phrase on a strip of fabric describing the legacy of their loved one. 

Rev. Dr. Derek Weber’s message “Under a Cloud” was based on Matthew 22:34-39. “I understand that tonight you’re under a cloud. We can say we’re here to celebrate life, and we are … here to give God thanks and praise for lives well lived … yet there is a cloud that hangs over us, a cloud of grief and loss,” he said.

The conference honored the lives of 46 clergy and 27 spouses who have passed away in the last year by lighting candles in their memory.

Holy Communion was shared. 

The community joined as one by holding one another’s pieces of fabric, offering love and support for those grieving. 

Weber offered a benediction.

SATURDAY MORNING
Wagner presented Resolution #5 “A Commitment to Grace in the Indiana Conference.”

Trimble reviewed Resolution #5 and declared that it “accentuates the affirmations, not makes null and void any prohibition in The Book of Discipline. It doesn’t change the wording or the impact of The Book of Discipline.”

Three speeches were offered in favor of Resolution #5: 14-year-old Lydia Jacobson, Payton and the Rev. Susan Hobson.

Gadlage made a point of order, claiming that the resolution should be ruled out of order. He argued that the resolution is more than aspirational; it is “encouraging actions that ignore and violate …The Book of Discipline.”

Three speeches were offered against Resolution #5: Sue Kincaid, Shive and Linda Fraley.

Abel asked if the application of Resolution #5 is aspirational or if it would be considered binding as it relates to anything in The Book of Discipline.

Similarly, the Rev. Jason Rice asked “If Resolution #5 passes, would people still be able to bring charges against same-sex marriage?”

Trimble clarified that, as he has stated, it doesn’t change any prohibition in The Book of Discipline, which means it doesn’t make it null and void the rights for people who make complaints or the way the conference would handle those complaints.

The Rev. Aleze Fulbright invited the author of Resolution #5 to speak to the aspirational nature in which it was written.

Author of Resolution #5, the Rev. Mary Dicken, confirmed the invitational spirit in which the resolution was written. She claimed it is “an invitation to take a posture of grace, to allow the Holy Spirit to move in and through this church. … There’s no mandate that goes against our Book of Discipline. It’s an invitation for us to engage with each other in our connection in a different way.”

Motion: To pass Resolution #5 “A Commitment to Grace in the Indiana Conference.”

The Rev. Glenn Knepp requested a written ballot, which was taken.

The motion passed (380 for, 332 against).

Boy Scouts of America Update
Whitehead, executive assistant to the bishop and director of leadership development, shared that he hoped to give an update on the Boy Scouts of America lawsuit, but the case has not yet been settled. He reinforced that as United Methodists, we are committed to taking part in healing for the survivors.

Protecting Our Children
The Rev. Shannon Stringer, director of leadership development, began, “I want to live in a world where innocence is part of a child’s life, and the people who are responsible for them can be trusted. But it’s not the reality of the world we live in.”

It is the expectation of conference leadership and of the members of our churches that all churches will have an abuse prevention plan. This has been and will continue to be a regular part of the implementation of the Indiana Conference Child Protection Policy, which is available at inumc.org/protectingourchildren.

Camping
The Rev. Julie Macy, member of the Board of Camps and Retreats, reported on our seven campsites. They received $758,338.73 in Paycheck Protection Program funds, which paid salaries, maintained buildings and allowed staff to prepare for the partial re-opening in 2021. With new safety protocols required, many updates were made to be able to open at 50% capacity last summer. They celebrated the following camping highlights from 2021:

  • 198 first-time commitments to Christ
  • 233 recommitments to Christ
  • 488 volunteers
  • 168 acknowledged God’s call on their lives

Commission on Archives and History
Arlen Packard announced the following Heritage Church Awards: Muncie High Street United Methodist Church, Brownstown United Methodist Church, and Grace United Methodist Church (Franklin). He also celebrated the following bicentennial churches: Springville United Methodist Church, Columbia United Methodist Church (Connersville), Atkins Chapel (Floyds Knobs), and Rockville First United Methodist Church.

Committee on Finance and Administration
Frieden, chair of the Committee on Finance and Administration, presented the 2023 budget for approval: $7,677,950.

Motion: To approve the budget.

The motion passed.

Trimble has set the date for a special session on November 19, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time, via Zoom.

The 2023 Annual Conference has been set for June 8-10, 2023.

Whitehead, executive assistant to the bishop and director of connectional ministry, took a moment for personal privilege, acknowledging Trimble’s upcoming birthday. A group song of “Happy Birthday” followed.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON

Celebration of Ministry

“Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” played during the processional.

Two children were baptized during the service:

– Eudora Diane Ohlemiller, child of the Revs. Jake and Janelle Ohlemiller
– Isaiah Carter Hutchinson, child of Ariah Curry and Marquez Hutchinson, grandson of Stephens.

Eight persons were presented for ordination as elders.

Two persons were commissioned as preparing for ordained ministry as deacons.

Four persons were commissioned as preparing for ordained ministry as elders.

The Rev. Kevin Armstrong’s sermon “Following Rules and Falling in Love” was based on Jeremiah 29:1-2 and Luke 17:11-19.

The Rev. Toni Carmer, a member of the 2022 retiring class, passed the mantle to the Rev. Hannah Wiswasser, a member of the newly-ordained clergy.

Final Missional Offering was $102,373.72.

Around 4,000 pounds of school kits were collected (which is estimated to be around 2,000 kits).

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INUMC By the Numbers (2021)

-Membership stands at 165,551, down 4% from the previous year.

-Worship attendance stands at 57,502, down 7%.

-Church school attendance stands at 15,632, down 3%.

-Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2021 were 1,256, down from 2020 by 14%.

-Adults and young adults in small groups for 2021 were 2,808, down from 2020 by 9%.

-Worshippers engaged in mission for 2021 were 37,099, down from 2020 by 4%. 


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