Members of annual conference and guests were called to remember – through Word, Water, & Witness – their identity as baptized Christians and the firm foundation becoming a disciple in the United Methodist church provides.
There were worship services, baptismal water basins, and inspiring witness presentations that intertwined Word, water and witness throughout the conference each day. The annual conference opened with worship on Wednesday with blue grass music and a sermon by Rev. Dr. Davis Chappell, Senior Pastor at Brentwood UMC.
The body elected 2020 Delegates, approved the creation of a new conference that will join the Tennessee and Memphis conferences, and considered and approved other proposed resolutions.
The Board of Ministry report included that 28 people would be ordained and commissioned and 19 would be licensed this year.
A video montage of retirees celebrated the 30 clergy who retired in 2019. A full listing of those who retired as well as the video can be found on the conference website 2019 Retirement Class page.
Licensing, Commissioning & Ordination
Wednesday evening, the Service of Licensing, Commissioning & Ordination filled the sanctuary. Bishop William McAlilly’s message was “Abiding on the Journey.” Twelve Elders and 2 Deacons were ordained into full membership in the conference. There were 9 Provisional Elders and 5 Provisional Deacons commissioned. Nineteen First Time Local Pastors were licensed. Watch the full service here.
Ordained Elders and Full Members of the Conference
- Nicholas Jay Baird-Chrisohon
- Jonathan Bratt Carle
- Jefferson Magalhães Furtado
- David Winship Johnson
- Toi Michelle King
- Eric Wade Little
- Samantha Tashman McGlothlin
- Mary Kathryn Myers
- Thomas Bowlin Myers
- Nancy Hawthorne Parker
- Betty L. Proctor
- Mbuga David Earnest Ssebulime
- Christopher Thomas Cummings
- Joanna Stephanie Cummings
- Corrie Beth Alexander
- Keith Earl Caldwell
- Eliud Martinez del Cid
- Diantha Smith McLeod
- Zachery Christopher Moffatt
- Samuel Aubrey Ordung
- Tamika Danyell Robertson
- Jacob William Wood
- Russell K. Yoder
Commissioned Provisional Deacons
- K.C. Casebier
- Keri Helen Cress
- Jedediah Wilson Hanes
- Jason Tyler Peterson
- Velma Thomas-Parker
First-Time Local Pastors
- Adam Donovan Daniels
- Murray Paul Gordon
- Cynthia Anne Gray
- Stephen Douglas Grayson
- William Paul Guffey
- Donald Lee Haston
- Timothy Lee Holton
- Chelli Runelle Jones
- Colby Burnette Long
- Matthew Janson McClanahan
- Daniel Anthony Meaker
- Jeffrey Taylor Phillips
- James Scruggs
- Lucinda Jan Sharp
- Kenneth Walter Shelton
- Wanda Lynn Spencer
- Charlene Head Sullivan
- Donald Johnson Terry
- Sara Juanita Weber
Inspiring presentations, often with a strong witness of the transforming love of Jesus Christ, were given throughout annual conference. Groups selected to present this year included: Wings of Hope, Miriam’s Promise, Camp and Retreat Ministries, the Black College Fund, Lina H. McCord Ambassador, Martin Methodist College, Mountain TOP & Tracy City First UMC, Christian Unity & Interreligious Relationships, Next Gen Discipleship, Board of Laity & Lay Servant Ministries, Project Transformation, Campus Ministry, and the Episcopacy Committee.
On Friday, family members and friends lit candles at the Service of Remembrance and Memorials to remember the 26 souls who passed in the last year. Rev. Dr. Kennard Murray, retired District Superintendent Red River District, preached on a treasured scripture, Psalm 23. Watch the full service here.
Business of the annual conference began on Wednesday with presentations and reports for items to be voted upon on Friday. Thursday was dedicated primarily to the election of delegates and the resolution to form a new conference.
Election of Delegates
On Thursday, the day was spent electing delegates and alternates for the 2020 General Conference and 2020 Jurisdictional Conference. Electronic devices were used.
Young people appealed to the body to elect people under 35 for at least 25% of the positions. Sam McGlothlin and Maggie Taylor, elected to serve at General Conference, are under 35. Of the total 20 people selected, 35% are under the age of 40. The following clergy and lay delegates were elected:
2020 General Conference Clergy Delegates
- Harriet Bryan
- Stephen Handy
- Marie King
- Samantha “Sam” McGlothlin
2020 General Conference Lay Delegates
- Jim Allen
- Connie Clark
- Maggie Taylor
- George Brown
2020 Southeast Jurisdiction Clergy Delegates
- Jacob Armstrong
- Jefferson Furtado
- Paul Purdue
- Laura Brantley
2020 Southeast Jurisdiction Lay Delegates
- Linda Furtado
- Tom Lee
- Jacob Vaughn
- Leslie Hotzfeld
- Monica Mowdy
- Stephanie Dodge
- Christine Archer
- Rachel Hagewood
New Conference Resolution
Also on Thursday, a resolution on the creation of a new conference was presented and voted on by written ballot. It read in part, “the Tennessee Annual Conference affirms sending a motion to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, for action at its 2020 session, requesting that the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences be joined to form a new Conference, and to meet as a fully unified Annual Conference in 2021.”
The ballots were sealed to be counted at the close of each – Memphis and Tennessee – annual conference. [The bishop announced on his blog on Monday, June 17, that the measure passed in both conferences with 68% overall approval – TNUMC: 441 yes, 236 no (65%) and MEM: 319 yes, 123 no (72%)]
Direct Billing Proposal
The Council for Finance and Administration presented 7 action items for vote. Two of those action items were related to the initiation of direct billing to each church for clergy benefits. These received much attention and discussion.
After many questions and arguments for and against, the following action items were passed on Friday:
That half the amount of $13,215 ($6,562.50) per clergy for participation in the Conference Clergy Health Benefit Plan shall be directly billed to each church for their appointed participating clergy with the remainder paid from conference reserves. Benefit direct billings will be paid or drafted from the church’s account via ACH.
That 25 percent of the cost to the conference for each clergy participating in the Conference Clergy Pension Plans shall be directly billed to each church to which the clergy is appointed, with the remainder paid from conference reserves. Benefit direct billings will be paid or drafted from the church’s account via ACH. The specific amount will be calculated for each church after appointments have been made, but no later than October 31, 2019.
Voice Vote Resolutions
The following resolutions were passed by voice vote on Friday: Housing Pension Resolution, Martin Methodist Month Resolution, and Suicide Prevention Resources Resolution.
On Friday, a revised resolution was presented that addressed the passage of the Traditional Plan at the 2019 Special Session of General Conference. It resolved that:
“the Tennessee Conference apologizes for the harm that actions at the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference have caused LGBTQIA+ persons, their families, their friends, and the body of Christ. We affirm that “all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God,” and urge all in ministry, whether lay or clergy, to affirm that no human being is incompatible with Christian teaching.”
“And be it further resolved, that we urge all lay and clergy in the Tennessee conference to make all reasonable efforts to address issues related to LGBTQIA+ ordination and marriage in a manner so as to treat church trials and judicial processes as a last resort.”
There were questions, a proposed and rejected amendment, and arguments for and against this resolution. A written ballot vote was taken. The resolution passed by 62% as written with 335 yes, and 208 no votes.
This year, the recipients of conference awards were celebrated in a video.
Throughout the conference, Bishop McAlilly stressed the need to stay focused on our mission to discover, equip, connect and send lay and clergy leaders who shape congregations that offer Jesus Christ to a hurting world, one neighborhood at a time. His inspiring closing comments encouraged members to “just breathe and carry on.” Watch Bishop’s comments.
On Friday afternoon, the annual conference closed with a Service of Sending Forth. Interns throughout the conference including Project Transformation interns were commissioned. The preacher for this service was Rev. Nancy Parker, Young Adult Associate Pastor at West End UMC and Pastor/Director, Wesley Fellowship at Vanderbilt. As she preached, a beautiful painting was created by Rev. Joanna Cummings, a deacon at Brentwood UMC. Watch the full service here.
Appointments for 2019 were set and are available for review on the conference website.
View the full video archive of the 2019 annual conference session on our Vimeo page.
More information from annual conference including links to the full text of reports and resolutions is available at tnumc.org/AC2019.