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Locals attend Memphis Annual Conference

Locals attend Memphis Annual Conference

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012 12:01 am

The Memphis Annual Conference met recently in Jackson.  Clergy and delegates from roughly 425 churches across western Kentucky and West Tennessee converged in Jackson for a time of worship, fellowship, bible study, recognition and, of course, legislation for the coming year.
The theme was “Extravagant Generosity,” which rounded out a five-year theme focusing on the characteristics of fruitful congregations. 
Bible Study Sessions, led by Dr. Doug Meeks of Vanderbilt Divinity School, brought everyone to a new understanding of what it meant to embody extravagant generosity. 
Several of our local United Methodists were recognized during the Conference. 
Carlie Vowell was the first-ever youth recipient of the Harry Denman Evangelism award for the Memphis Conference. 
The Denman Award is given to persons who, in their daily lives, are effective in helping others to experience the transforming love of God through Jesus Christ. 
Carlie is the daughter of Hollie Holt and Tim Vowell, a rising sophomore at Westview High School and an active member of the Martin First United Methodist Church.
The Rev. Randy Cooper, pastor of Martin First United Methodist Church, was officially endorsed by the Conference as an episcopal nominee for bishop. 
Cooper runs against 14 other candidates for 5 episcopal vacancies in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. 
If elected, Cooper will preside over an annual conference and provide spiritual leadership for its churches and clergy, as well as play a part in setting the direction of the global church. 
The Episcopal election will be held mid-July at Lake Junaluska, NC.
Rebecca Russell Alexander, youth minister of Martin FUMC, was commissioned as a provisional deacon at this year’s conference. She now holds the title of “Reverend” and will continue her work with youth and young adults at the church. As a deacon, she works to connect the worship of God with mission in the world, as well as the nurturing of disciples in the world.
The Rev. Cathy Barnett, pastor of Oak Hill United Methodist Church, was affirmed as local pastor by the Clergy Session and she will continue to be in ministry with the congregation at Oak Hill in the coming year.
While there were no major changes in how we operate this year on the local level, it was shared that the General Conference, which meets every quadrennium, had voted to no longer uphold guaranteed appointments for ordained clergy. Discussion also continued about the possible merger of the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences, which would extend our current geographical area to east as far as Crossville; however, no decisions have been made yet.
All in all, it was a celebration of a year together in ministry and prayers for the year to come, and a blessing to all who came.
Published in The WCP 6.14.12

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