Bishop Larry Goodpaster “fixed the appointments” of Michael F. Bailey, Susan Norman-Vickers, and Louis D. Timberlake to Christ United Methodist Church for the forthcoming year. Louis was commissioned at Annual Conference by Bishop Goodpaster as a provisional elder. In the United Methodist Church, upon completing university and then divinity school and passing the examinations of the Board of Ordained ministry, clergy are commissioned as provisional elders. After three years of satisfactory service, submission of significant academic papers and passing another round of Board of Ordained ministry examinations, provisional elders are ordained as elders in the United Methodist Church. Christ Church offers congratulations to Louis upon his commissioning.
REFLECTIONS ON ANNUAL CONFERENCE
from Ron Wilson, Lay Member, Western North Carolina Annual Conference
Linda and I have just returned from Annual Conference where the theme was Celebrating Generosity. There were wonderful worship services each day and, of course, a number of issues to be addressed in Business Sessions. Sunday morning’s worship was, for me, the highlight of the meeting. It was not just a worship service, however, but also a time for the “Fixing of Appointments,” the historic phrase used for making pastoral appointments official.
Bishop Goodpaster delivered the sermon and led the nearly 1,800-member congregation in celebrating the generosity of the Western North Conference in the year 2013. There was much to celebrate including growth in giving, growth in mission teams, growth in the number of people participating on those teams and growth in people touched by missions delivered outside the walls of the church. But, the Bishop was distressed at one statistic and which he called us to change: While $30 million was spent by conference congregations on missions delivered outside the walls of the church, this was only 13% of total funds spent. The other 87% was spent within the churches.
As he moved to the Fixing of Appointments, Bishop Goodpaster’s charge to clergy included the following:
“We go where we are sent to spread the good news in the community where we are sent, to perform the sacraments, to be servants in the church and in the world, and to lead the congregation.”
The crux of the Bishop’s comments, were that our church’s mission is to extend the Kingdom, not just serve our own congregational needs.