Delegates react to day of messages, presentations

United Methodist agency leaders sing "Lift High the Cross" after speaking on the Areas of Focus. From left are the Rev. Jerome King Del Pino, the Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, Bishop Felton May and the Rev. Larry Hollon.
United Methodist agency leaders sing "Lift High the Cross" after speaking on the Areas of Focus. From left are the Rev. Jerome King Del Pino, the Rev. Karen Greenwaldt, Bishop Felton May and the Rev. Larry Hollon.

As General Conference 2008 finished a day of addresses from United Methodist leaders, a sampling of delegates praised the presentations for their messages of hope and action.

"I love the message of hope," said Myrtis Parker, a lay delegate from the Central Texas Annual (regional) Conference. She also appreciated the diversity of the presentations.

The Rev. Margaret A. Ball, a clergy delegate from the Oklahoma Conference, said she appreciated the "gift of hope-and, 'Let's get on with it. Let's stop fighting.'
"We've had great worship and inspiring conversation to move us to a new plane."

Becca Farnum, 17, of Mount Pleasant, Mich., helps give the first-ever Young People's Address.

Kevin Goodwin, a third-time lay delegate and chairman of the Peninsula-Delaware Conference, said, "It's the most focused I have ever seen. Having the addresses on the same day was excellent so you have a chance to take it all in."

Georgina Dapcevich, a lay delegate from the Alaska Missionary Conference, said, "It was inspiring about the revitalization of the church. Looking at the direction in membership is a serious concern. I appreciate that The United Methodist Church is being honest and forthright about that, and is doing something about it."

The Rev. Paul D. Hillard Jr., a clergy delegate from the North Alabama Conference, said the day's presentations caused him to reflect and to pray for the will of God. "My initial reaction is that it is well choreographed," he said.

Wilfried Nausner, a lay delegate from the Austria Provisional Conference, said the addresses were "fine, but too many."

The Rev. J. J. Whitney, a clergy delegate from the Arkansas Conference, said, "It was encouraging to see young people up there who are willing to step up in leadership." She also said she was encouraged by women bishops taking an active role and speaking with "clarity, conviction and passion."

The Rev. Richard Winn, a clergy delegate from the North Georgia Conference, praised the Young People's Address as "superb and invigorating. They were hopeful and lively and I think they will make it work." He also said the Laity Address was "comprehensive, splendid, and I hope we listen."

Ann Davis, a delegate from the Virginia Conference, said the young adult message resonated with her in particular. "They were awesome. They had a lot of wonderful things to remind us about."

She also appreciated the focus on unity. "Our strength is when we are working together," she said.

*White is associate editor of Interpreter magazine.

News media contact: Debbie White, e-mail: newsdesk@umcom.org.

Phone calls can be made to the General Conference Newsroom in Fort Worth, Texas, at (817) 698-4405(817) 698-4405 until May 3. Afterward, call United Methodist News Service in Nashville, Tenn., at (615) 742-5470(615) 742-5470.

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