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May 8, 2012 / Volume 11, No. 9 View Online

Annual Conference 2012 News & Updates

Updates to the Annual Conference section of the Web site are occurring often. To find out more information, go to www.awfumc.org/ac2012. Registration is now live online and can be found here.

If you or someone in your district is using PowerPoint or graphics during a business session presentation at annual conference, please send them to marycatherine@awfumc.org no later than Friday, May 18.

General Conference 2012

Furr Challenges General Conference Through Personal Testimony

(Montgomery, AL) - The 2012 General Conference of the United Methodist reconvened this morning at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, FL by starting the day off with several challenging and energetic messages. Bishop Peter D. Weaver of the Boston Episcopal Area gave the first of five addresses and challenged the conference to focus on discipleship instead of membership in a powerful way that resonated with many. Following his address, three laity addresses were given by Betty Katiya, Dr. Steve Furr and Amory Peck.

Dr. Furr, a resident of Jackson, AL and the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church lay leader, incorporated a video presentation of his personal account of weight loss and transformation into leading a healthy lifestyle. Furr realized that when his wedding band no longer fit, it was time to make a change. Furr is a family practitioner physician in Jackson and explained that his patients were able to better follow his medical advice by him leading as an example. The video also showed his daily routine of work, family and exercise all blended in an appropriate fashion. He expressed in his address that, "Being or living a sermon is a whole different matter. A part of me had to die so the real me could live. I was desecrating the temple God has given me. I had to decide to BE a sermon." As God tells his followers our bodies are a temple. Furr said, "my personal temple was in disarray." At one point, Dr. Furr was 5'6", 236 pounds. He now proudly weighs in under 175 pounds. He concluded by saying that, "Jesus Christ is the best personal trainer ever." Click here for full story.

General Conference Wrap

(UMNS) United Methodists from five continents addressed a wide range of challenging issues, including church structure and human sexuality, and engaged in an Act of Repentance toward indigenous people during their 10-day legislative gathering.

Meeting in the Tampa Convention Center, steps away from the waters of Tampa Bay, the 988 delegates recalled through worship, song and sermon the healing and transforming ministry of Jesus beside the Sea of Galilee.

As storms on the Sea of Galilee alarmed the disciples, so too, conflicting stands on structure and social justice issues troubled the delegates and some 4,000 visitors and staff. Perhaps the most surprising lightning strike occurred at 4:30 p.m. on May 4, the final day of the assembly, when the delegates received word from the church"s supreme court that a major piece of legislation regarding restructuring violated the denomination"s Constitution.

Afterward, Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster of the Charlotte (N.C.) Area, outgoing Council of Bishops president, sought to comfort a frustrated assembly at the start of the evening session. "God always provides a way," he said.

In addition to restructuring and the Act of Repentance, General Conference addressed a wide range of topics during its April 24-May 4 gathering. The delegates:

  • Retained the church"s position regarding homosexuality, deciding not to adopt language that would have said United Methodists are not of one mind on this issue;
  • Did away with "guaranteed appointments" for clergy;
  • Rejected a proposal for setting aside a bishop to serve as full-time president of the Council of Bishops;
  • Entered into full communion with a number of historically black pan-Methodist denominations;
  • Approved making the United Methodist Women an autonomous organization rather than operating it under the church's missions agency;
  • Created a national ministry plan for Pacific Islanders;
  • Adopted a $603.1 million budget for the 2013-2016 period; and
  • Decided not to divest from three companies whose products are used by the Israeli military in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The delegates, from more than 60 nations, processed some 1,200 petitions during the assembly. General Conference meets every four years and is the only body that speaks for the 13 million-member denomination.

Click here to read more.

Upcoming Events

Early Response Training, May 12

Retirement Matters: Transitions, Opportunities, Challenges, May 7-18

Springtime by the Sea, May 21-24

AWF Annual Conference, June 3-6

SURGE into Missions: Christian Summer Youth Events, June 14-July 22

UMCH Softball Tournament, June 16

Generations Together at Epworth by the Sea, June 22-25

Summer Church Music Workshop, July 15-20

Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, July 18-20

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