The theme was Greater Things: Spirit-Led Innovation, taken from the passage in John’s Gospel (14:11-16). At first glance, Jesus’ notion seems impossible. Jesus not only calls us as disciples to do the work that he has done, but takes it to an entirely different level when declaring "we will do even greater things.” One critical component separates success from failure as we strive to accomplish this calling. The key to accomplishing greater things is allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us as we discern innovative paths for the future of the ministries to which we are called.
Annual Conference Session was preceded by an optional Learning Day on June 10, which featured workshops on Enneagram and Discernment with Rev. Joe and Suzanne Stabile, Discernment with the Holy Spirit with Rev. Dr. Len Sweet, Greater Things with Len Wilson, and Discipleship through Worship with Rev. Dr. Cynthia Wilson.
Missouri Bishop Bob Farr was the officiating bishop.
The list of disaffiliating churches is Belle, First (Puxico), Grace Community, Iantha, Koenig, Liberal, Marble Hill, New Hope (Carl Junction), Pleasant Hill (Carl Junction), Polo and Prairie Chapel (Urbana).
The list of closed churches is Atlanta, Bellefontaine, Bethel (Montgomery County), Green Castle, Hallsville, Kendall, Mt. Olivet (Taylor), Prairie Chapel (Sullivan County), Victoria, and Woods Chapel (Odessa).
A resolution was submitted prior to Annual Conference to reduce the Annual Conference budget by the amount that would have been received in apportionments from the disaffiliating churches. Bishop Farr ruled this petition out of order because the proposed budget was already reduced considerably more than the amount that was being requested.
No openly gay candidates were brought to the clergy session for approval as candidates for ministry. The candidates that were approved submitted a letter to the Florida Conference that was read on the floor of the Missouri Conference expressing sympathy and support for this year’s candidacy class that was not approved during the Florida Conference.
No delegates needed to be elected to replace previously elected delegates.
Six people were ordained, four elders and two deacons, with an average age of 45. One person who is 63 was recognized as an associate member. Nine people were commissioned, with an average age of 38. This year 38 clergy retired.
Membership in the United Methodist Church in Missouri stands at 134,056, down from 140,195 the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 46,642, down from 56,871. Church school attendance stands at 13,137, down from 16,129.
Professions or reaffirmations of faith for 2021 were 1,226, down from 2,208. Adults and young adults in small groups were 27,642, down from 31,060. Worshippers engaged in mission was 27,508, down from 29,852.
—Fred Koenig, Missouri Conference editor
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