Video & Brief Daily Recaps | AC 2018

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Below are brief recaps from each day of the 2018 Tennessee Annual Conference
along with video footage from the Livestream broadcast.

For additional information and links from Annual Conference, go to

Wednesday, June 13

See All the People Opening Worship

On Wednesday, June 13, the 51st Tennessee Annual Conference opened with a pulsing drum procession and uplifting songs of celebration. Following the call to worship and prayer, the mood transitioned to one of reflection.

Family members of the saints who have gone on before us this year came forward and lit candles as songs of Adoration and Remembrance were sung. Names of each saint were read as a bell rang out in an act of remembrance for each one.

The annual conference offering was taken for Congo Women Arise, an initiative with the East Congo Episcopal Area to build and support the Mama Lynn Center.

Following the scripture reading from Luke 10: 1-9 (the mission of the seventy), Rev. Junius B. Dotson, general secretary of Discipleship Ministries, presented an inspiring and faith-igniting sermon titled “The Game Plan: Simple Instructions for Engaging the Community.” Worship concluded with hymns, an act of prayer, and blessing.

Laity and Clergy Learning Times with Junius B. Dotson

In separate sessions, clergy and lay members of the Tennessee Annual Conference heard Junius B. Dotson, general secretary of Discipleship Ministries, speak on Making, Shaping and Engaging Passionate Disciples of Jesus Christ. During the inspiring, engaging, and high-energy presentations, members learned about the importance of intentional discipleship systems that focus on making and growing disciples for the transformation of the world.

During these sessions, members spent time discussing disciple characteristics, ways they have grown and will grow as disciples, and where they and their churches are on birth-through-death life cycle. While some churches may be in serious decline, Dotson left all members with a message of hope saying rebirth can happen at any stage of the lifecycle.

Laity also met with Bishop Bill McAlilly and members of the annual conference learning team. They received hands-on tools related to disciple-making that they will use during Thursday’s learning sessions.

To download copies of Developing an Intentional Discipleship System: A Guide for Congregations and Engaging Your Community: A Guide to Seeing All the People, click here.

Annual Conference Learning Toolkit, click here

Thursday Afternoon Business

Business of the conference began Thursday afternoon with the singing of Are We Yet Alive, roll call, and setting of the bar. The Consent Agenda was approved by voice vote.

Bryan Brooks presented the report from the Board of Ordained Ministry and also recognized the retiring class of 2018. A Retirement video made with retirees was presented at this time.

Several items to be voted on were presented including financial and personnel information (found at as well as the first reading of the UM General Conference Constitutional Amendment.

The session closed with a presentation from a Black College Fund representative.

The Service of Worship for Licensing, Commissioning, and Ordination

On the evening of Wednesday, June 13, clergy and guests gathered for the licensing, commissioning, and ordination worship service at Brentwood UMC. Ephesians 4:1-16 was read and Bishop William T. McAlilly shared the message, “Grow Up!” with the congregation.

Retired Bishop Joseph E. Pennel Jr. assisted Bishop McAlilly in the leadership of the service where the following people were licensed, commissioned, and ordained:

Commissioning as a Deaconess

Sophia Kristina Remorca Agtarap

First-Time Local Pastors

Vernon Bernardo Acklin                      Lory Brooks Catlett                                          Darren Jay Ford

Mary Joe Harvey                          Claudet Delrocio Hernandez                             Scott Walter Kimball

Bruce Robert Krapf                   Appadurai Moses Rathan Kumar                   Bradley Christian Martin

Reneé Spellings Martin                      Philip David McAbee                                 Cynthia Beth McGowan

Clarence James Melrose                 Frances Frierson Merritt                                     Sheila Renee Peters

Randy Allen Smith                             Joshua Allen Strader                                          John Thomas Vida

Jacob William Wood

Commissioned Provisional Deacon

 Regina Gail Girten

Commissioned Provisional Elders

Zachary Stephen Fisher                    Kelli Nichole Hamilton                                      Peter Dane van Eys

Sheila Renee Williams                    Darren Mayberry Wright

Ordained Deacons and Full Members of the Conference

Kevin Michael Crawford                    Adam Crane Jones, III

Ordained Elders and Full Members of the Conference

Sharon Bonner Austell                       Kyle Donald Frohock                                 Allison Marie Gossett

Bradley Ryan Heatherly                     Stephen David Sauls                                  Shelby Lucas Slowey

Paula Broussard Smith                          Judy Stevenson                                                Carlos Uroza

Edward Thomas Vann, Jr.


Thursday, June 14

Day of Discernment Prayer Service with Holy Communion

The first of three prayer services. Rev. Donna Parramore, district superintendent of the Caney Fork River district preached.

Commission on the Way Forward Report

On Thursday morning, Rev. Julie Hager Love, commission member and the Kentucky Conference’s director of connectional ministries, shared an overview of the issues and the makeup of the commission and how they work together to find a way forward that can:

  • Be as connected and unified as possible
  • Be as agile, responsive, and contextual as possible
  • Live in and address the widest global and cultural mission field as possible

She also shared the timeline for the next six months:

  • July 7, 2018 – Final report published in four languages
  • Summer/Fall 2018 – Delegates prepare for General Conference
  • February 23-26, 2019 – Special Session of General Conference

The presentation led into a brief presentation by the Tennessee conference’s General Conference lay and clergy delegation leaders, Jim Allen and Rev. Harriet Bryan. They reported that the delegation will hold listening sessions this fall on Sunday afternoons in each district. When scheduled, these will be announced in the conference E-newsletter and listed on the conference website. In the meantime, people may contact the delegation via email at

Learning Sessions during Lunch – by Districts

Business/Presentations Thursday Afternoon

During the Thursday afternoon session, members of the Tennessee Annual Conference heard the nominations report and the following ministry presentations:

Recognition of Missionaries, Home Missioners, and Deaconesses

Cal Turner Jr. “My Father’s Business” conversation

Cal Turner and Bishop McAlilly chatted about Cal’s book, covering his conversion to Christianity as a boy, his relationship with his father, and his calling to serve God in the workplace in a Fortune 500 company, Dollar General.

Connectional Ministries Restructuring Team & Nominations

Director of Connectional Ministries Melinda Britt presented a restructuring plan for Connectional Ministries and nominations for chairs and leaders for Tennessee Conference boards, commissions, and committees.

Next Gen Discipleship Operational Team

One example of Next Gen’s impact can be seen in a video presented about young adult, Maggie Wade.Team representatives also offered their visions and values.

Martin Methodist College

Dr. Mark La Branche, president of Martin Methodist College, thanked the annual conference for its continued support of the college. He also introduced new staff members at the college, including Rev. John Collett, retired TNUMC elder, as the Director of Church Relations and Thriving Rural Communities.

Project Transformation

Executive Director Courtney Aldrich gave an update on the work of this program, now in its seventh year. More than 700 children in five counties are participating this year. There are 92 interns working in 10 site churches and 90 partnering churches across the Tennessee and Memphis conferences.

Camp & Retreat Ministries

Brian Marcoulier, Russell Casteel, and Sarah Ratz shared information about various retreats, summer camps, new programs, and church connections going on at Beersheba Springs Assembly and Cedar Crest Camp. Events at these sites have been used as important tools in the missional strategy for intergenerational and multicultural discipleship in our local churches including confirmation retreats, Next Gen Ministries BE Retreat, Summer Sizzler, and a Prayer Shawl Retreat.

Scholarship and Awards Recognition

A video was shown of the many scholarship and awards recipients across Tennessee Conference ministries.

Miriam’s Promise

Executive Director Debbie Robinson shared mission and ministry provided by Miriam’s Promise. She presented London’s story via video.

Stratford Ministry (Dalewood)

Rev. Sean Stanfield shared information about Dalewood UMC’s partnership and ministry with Stratford STEM Magnet High School. Located less than a mile from one another, time separated the two for decades. But in August 2017, a chance meeting with Lee Brown from Fellowship of Christian Athletes led to a discussion about how the church might help feed Stratford’s football team. Today, church members regularly attend games and cheer the team on; feed the football, basketball, and baseball teams and cheerleaders; and stock a food pantry.

Older Adult Ministries & Golden Cross Foundation

Kent McNish and Shirley Vaughn presented a new resource, Alzheimer’s/Dementia: Ministry with the Forgotten by Bishop Kenneth Carder. Designed for small groups, this five-session study was created to generate discussion on ways congregations can be in ministry with people who have dementia and their families and caregivers. For more information, click here.


Angy Trimmer, Annie Hardison, and Cynthia McGowan provided an overview of some of the programs and ministries offered by FreshSTART—a recovery ministry in Columbia, Tennessee—that provides solutions for families struggling with the effects of addiction, alcoholism, poverty, incarceration, mental health issues, and abuse.

Recognition of Lay Servant Ministries

Jackie Elliott, Conference Director of Lay Servant Ministries, along with Lay Leader Holly Neal and Associate Lay Leader George Brown, recognized the many lay servants within the conference. She also praised the success of the first Hispanic lay servant training held earlier this year.

Day of Discernment District Gathering and Prayer Service with Dinner

The second of three prayer services conducted in each district setting.



Resolution on Intent to Form a New Conference is presented by Rev. Scott Aleridge with the support of Advisory Team.



Friday, June 15

Day of Discernment Prayer Service

The third of three prayer services to prepare the body for discernment and voting.

Friday Business Sessions

Speeches for and against the Resolution on Intent to Form a New Conference were heard and the vote was taken and sealed. The votes in the Memphis Conference have been sealed as well. Secretaries from both conferences will count the votes and reveal the result soon. Results announcement (June 19, 2018)

Action items from the Council on Finance and Administration report was given by John Pearce:

  • Request for Approval for 2019 Budget – Approved
  • Travel Expense Reimbursement – Approved
  • Expenses for Conference for At Large Members Reimbursement – Approved
  • Housing Allowance for Clergy Persons on Conference Staff – Approved
  • Base Compensation for District Superintendents for 2019 – Approved

Jay Voorhees presented 17 Standing Rules proposals to adopt. All proposals were approved.

United Methodist General Conference Constitutional Amendment vote was taken and sealed. All national and international conference votes are sealed until all votes can be tabulated. (Sample ballot)

Conference resolutions were discussed. Here are results for each:

Resolution 1: 2018 Retiree Housing Allowance – Approved

Resolutions 2 – 9 and 11 were deemed unconstitutional and did not pass the test of concurrence. Therefore no vote was taken on these resolutions.

Resolution 10: Commission on Archives and History – Referred to CFA for consideration

Resolution-12-RESOLVE-Group-Resolutions-1-7 –

  • RESOLVE Resolution 1 – Approved as amended
  • RESOLVE Resolution 2 – Approved
  • RESOLVE Resolution 3 – Approved
  • RESOLVE Resolution 4 – Approved
  • RESOLVE Resolution 5 – Approved as amended
  • RESOLVE Resolution 6 – Deferred for further study
  • RESOLVE Resolution 7 – Approved

Kent McNish presented the report of the Area-wide Episcopacy Committee who have unanimously endorsed the work of Bishop McAlilly. Wife of the bishop, Lynn McAlilly, announced that the offering for the Mama Lynn Center brought us beyond our ultimate goal of $350,000! She also brought up an autism spectrum ministry and asked if any churches have ministries in this already. She then recognized and expressed appreciation for all the clergy spouses.

Setting of Appointments and Sending Forth

Clergy appointments were set for each district and the Tennessee Annual Conference was brought to a close on Friday afternoon, June 15.