2022 West Virginia Annual Conference

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The West Virginia Annual Conference met June 9-12 on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan College. The Conference theme emphasized “Building Bridges: Making Connections.” The first day of conference was set aside as A Day of Service, as congregations engaged locally in relationship-building service activities around the West Virginia Conference. 

On Friday morning, members gathered in the chapel of West Virginia Wesleyan College for an opening Communion Service of Lament and Hope. Worship included a premiere of a land acknowledgement video from CONAM (The Commission on Native American Ministries) and a greeting from Bishop Matthew Riegel, Bishop of the West Virginia Synod of the Lutheran Church (ELCA). Bishop Steiner Ball’s sermon proclaimed, “My Soul Remembers; Therefore, I Have Hope.”  

The Laity Session was held online prior to conference. An additional Laity Gathering took place in person, with guest facilitator George Howard leading a conversation about building relationships. 

The Clergy Session was held in person. Clergy welcomed 13 newly certified candidates, while celebrating the ministry contributions of 20 retiring colleagues.

Annual Conference business was held in Wesley Chapel with only voting members present, to offer safe distancing, while an alternative viewing site on campus was provided for guests. All were welcomed to worship together, during additional times of celebration, recognition, and memorial.   

During the Laity Address Conference Lay Leader Kristi Wilkerson encouraged the Conference to commit to building bridges, making connections and growing the Kingdom through Radical Love, Gratitude, Hospitality and Compassion.

Ministry celebrations and recognitions included: 

  • Recognition of 61 Certified Lay Ministers by Kim Matthews, Associate Lay Leader, and Director of Lay Servant Ministries.
  • A new Service Award from the conference Board of Global Ministries, honoring outstanding dedication to mission and faithfulness to the community by engaging in ongoing efforts to meet basic human needs and assist neighbors in improving their quality of life. First United Methodist Church, Clarksburg, was the recipient for their homeless outreach ministry.
  • Mission and Evangelism awards, including the One Matters Award to Mt. Storm United Methodist Church; and the Harry Denman Awards, given for excellence in evangelism, awarded to clergy, laity, and youth (Rev. Jim Richards, Rosemary Snodgrass, and Tyler Curry).
  • The Francis Asbury Award to Mark Stotler, chair of the Conference Higher Education and Campus Ministry Team, for his knowledge of and dedication to the ministry of higher education and campus ministry.
  • UM Communicator Certification to Jim Minutelli (CLM) and Rev. Deborah Coble (WV Director of Communications) as the first in the denomination to receive this certification.

Included in items of business, conference members:  

  • Approved the Resolution on District Re-alignment,reducing the number of districts from nine to seven.
  • Approved an annual increase in the minimum compensation for a full-time clergy appointment by $1,200 for each clergy status category, as recommended by the Equitable Compensation committee.
  • Adopted the proposed 2023 budget of $11,915,221. This represents an overall decrease of 2.6% from the 2022 budget.
  • Supported the West Virginia Clean Water Resolution. The resolution requests congregations within the conference to support the fund for the establishment of sustainable, potable water systems for rural communities in southern West Virginia in partnership with Dig Deep.
  • Supported the Resolution on Gun Violence submitted by the conference Justice and Advocacy Team. An amendment was approved, requiring the resolution be distributed to the governors of Maryland and West Virginia, the State Senate presidents, the State Speakers of the House and both Congressional delegations.

Annual Conference Program Chair Krysta Rexrode Wolfe recognized the teams and individuals who made the Annual Conference a success and announced next year’s Annual Conference dates will be June 8 -11, 2023.

Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball presented the State of the Church address to close the Saturday afternoon session. 

On Sunday June 12, the Service of Licensing, Commissioning and Ordination began with the baptism of the child of one of the new ordinands and closed with the fixing of appointments. Seven were ordained elder, seven were commissioned, and 13 were recognized as newly licensed local pastors.  

We celebrate the pastors and the congregations who continue to build bridges of ministry, working together to accomplish the mission and ministry of Christ in new ways.

—Deborah Coble, Director of Communications, West Virginia Annual Conference

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