Name of conference: Kentucky Annual Conference
Location of conference gathering: Owensboro Convention Center — Owensboro, Kentucky.
Dates of conference gathering: June 6 -8, 2022.
Did the gathering have a theme or slogan, and if so, what was it? Grow in the Love of God
Did the coronavirus affect how the conference met? We limited attendance to lay and clergy members and those that had business within the confines of conference work. We did not have a display area and we asked members to wear masks if they we inclined to do so.
Officiating bishop: Bishop Leonard E. Fairley
Guest speaker: Retired Bishop Lawson Bryan, who previously led the South Georgia Conference and is now serving as a bishop in residence in Montgomery, Alabama
Opening worship, Bishop Leonard Fairley — “Jesus’ instruction chronicled in John 12:12 — ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’ — is the best witness we can give for Christ’s love and grace, Please note that this is not a suggestion: In the strongest terms possible, Jesus makes it a command. It’s not optional.”
Opening worship, Bishop Leonard Fairley — “What will the world see of us in these days? What will they see of us in this, our first in-person annual conference since COVID-19 wreaked such havoc, death and sickness among us? It is my prayer that the world will see in our holy conferencing, our Christian conferencing, a people not geared up with hearts of war, but of peace. It is my prayer that the world will witness our growth in the love of God in the words of John Wesley, when he says: ‘Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though not of one opinion? Without doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences.’”
Opening worship, Bishop Leonard Fairley — “Sisters and brothers in Christ, there should never be any form of extremism — where there is self-righteousness, where there is social activism, where there is prophetic witness, evangelical fervor or any bumper sticker, hashtag or social media post — that is so desperate that you must get your way that no tactic, no meanness, no betrayal of love or friendship or harm is too great a cost,”
Service of Ordination and Commissioning, Bishop Lawson Bryan - Much of his focus was on tending the flock — the work of shepherds. “The Holy Spirit catches us, being with our people can help us grow, is the point. It doesn’t matter if we are extrovert or introvert; whoever you are is the person God called.”
Main actions enacted by the conference:
The $6.4 million 2023 budget was approved. The budget also included a 10% apportionment rate. Twenty retirees were honored and 25 clergy and nine clergy spouses were memorialized.
Appointments were set on Wednesday morning.
Resolutions or actions related to the postponed 2020 General Conference, now set for 2024:
A motion was presented on Tuesday afternoon by a lay member of the conference. The motion read: “I move that the Board of Pensions work with Wespath to explore if there is a way for the current assets to cover the unfunded pension liabilities and unfunded retirement health care liabilities for all churches of the Kentucky Annual Conference.”
The body voted 542-146 to explore the option outlined in the motion.
A second motion was presented by a different lay member on Wednesday morning. The motion read: “I move the Kentucky Annual Conference petition the Council of Bishops to call a special session of General Conference, however convened, to meet no later than October 31, 2022, specifically, and only, to consider the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation, and to consider extending the time limit in book of Discipline Paragraph 2553 beyond December 31, 2023.”
The motion was defeated 309-307.
Did any churches disaffiliate or leave the conference? Eight churches were approved to disaffiliate:
Grace on the Hill
Number of churches that closed because no longer sustainable:
Churches approved for closing, by district, with their closing date:
Cave Springs and Sturgis (Owensboro), June 27, 2021
Highland (Heartland), June 30, 2021
Lynch (South East), March 1, 2022
New Salem (South Central), May 1, 2022
Sturgis (Owensboro), June 16, 2021
Centro de Avivamiento, an uncharted church in Heartland, is also closing.
Any special annual conference set:
During the Monday plenary session, Bishop Fairley announced his intention to call a special session of the Annual Conference to address churches wishing to disaffiliate. The plan is for it to be held online. A proposed date was not announced.
Endorsement of episcopal candidate:
Rev. Dr. Iosmar Alvarez, Lexington District Superintendent, will again be the nominee from the Kentucky and Central Appalachian (formerly Red Bird) Conferences.
Names of delegates for General Conference and designation of lay or clergy:
Bill T. Arnold
James A. Williams
Alan L. Beuscher
Sandra C. Gray
Did the conference have to elect replacement delegates due to the delay? If so, which delegates are replacements and why?
We did not have to elect any replacements
Was there a push at your conference to elect younger delegates? If so, how many delegates under 35 were elected and what are their names and ages?
Bethany Harting — under 30 years old.
Number of people ordained, commissioned or received into associate membership, and average age:
Ordained as Elders in Full Connection:
Commissioned as Provisional Elders:
Commissioned as Provisional Deacon:
The average age of those commissioned and ordained was 41 years old.
Number of clergy retired: 20
Membership stands at 136,979, down 5,440 from the previous year.
Worship attendance stands at 29,383, down 2,443.
Christian formation attendance stands at 29,350, down 4,920.
Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2021: 741, up from 2020 by 230.
Baptisms for 2021: 693, up from 2020 by 254.
Worshippers engaged in mission for 2021: 13,838, down from 2020 by 405.
— Cathy L. Bruce, director of communications.
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