Opening worship was a service of lament. The bishop’s sermon was “My Soul Remembers; Therefore, I Have Hope.” Holy Communion was celebrated. (Watch opening worship here).
Clergy and Laity sessions were held.
WVWC Interim President James Moore offered greetings and welcomed conference participants to the campus; he emphasized that the college is centered in Methodism.
Rules Changes: Several Rules changes were approved, including updates to align the current conference structure with updated practices. In case it is necessary for new General Conference nominations voting, a Rules change was approved to ensure that data sheets will be available for clergy and laity for use during conference voting sessions.
The report of the Conference Board of Pensions was approved. Rev. Dan Kimble shared that the move to the HealthFlex program stabilized the budget but cautioned that increases in health care expenses will continue.
Clergy Financial Health Report: Bonnie MacDonald, Jeff Taylor, and Jamion Wolford shared the results of a clergy financial survey. Programs for debt reduction, including a program called Saving Grace (a Wesleyan Curriculum for congregations) were recommended.
After debate, Conference Minimum Salaries for full-time clergy were set based on the recommendation of the Equitable Compensation Team.
Category I (Full and Provisional Members) $39,000
Category II (Associate Members) $37,000
Category III (Full-time Local Pastors) $36,000
District Re-Alignment. Following debate, the Resolution on District Re-Alignment was approved. This resolution reduces the number of districts from 9 to 7 and outlines transitions that will be used to realign districts. (Follow this link for more details)
The resolution “West Virginia Clean Water” was supported. The resolution requests congregations and other organizations within the conference to support the fund established by the WV United Methodist Foundation for the establishment of sustainable, potable water systems for rural communities in southern West Virginia. It also requests that the Justice and Advocacy Committee support Dig Deep, an organization that works to provide clean water in West Virginia communities.
Historic questions were asked of the 2022 class of provisional and full members.
Judy Raines, Board of Global Ministries Chair, announced a newly established Service Award honoring the work of a person (or persons) in the conference who exhibits outstanding dedication to mission and faithfulness to the community by engaging in ongoing efforts to meet basic human needs and assist neighbors in improving their quality of life. The first award went to Clarksburg Cooperative Parish which has begun working at First UMC, Clarksburg, to address the needs of homeless people.
Ministry Leadership Recognition: The ministry of Rev. Dan and Rev. Sue Lowther, who are completing 14 years serving as Conference Disaster Response coordinators, was recognized. Vickie Ballengee is completing service as Director of Heart+Hand Outreach Ministries in South Charleston since 2013; Shay Petitto is completing seven years of ministry as Director at Scott’s Run Settlement House.
One Matters Award: Mt. Storm UMC in Potomac Highlands District was recognized for increasing Professions of Faith from zero in 2020 to receiving 10 new members through Confirmation in 2021. Mt. Storm’s pastor Rev. Becky Bennett led the efforts to increase membership.
The Harry Denman Award is given for excellence in evangelism. This year’s awards are:
Clergy Denman Award: Rev. Jim Richards, posthumously. Prior to his death from pancreatic cancer, he expanded the Kenova United Methodist’s online ministry and encouraged online meetings, Bible studies, and ministry opportunities.
Lay Denman Award: Rosemary Snodgrass from Ryder UMC in the MonValley District. She began to invite the children of the area to come during COVID and included them in all aspects of the life of the congregation.
Youth Denman Award: Tyler Curry from East High UMC in the MonValley District. He has reached out to friends and invited them to church. He is involved in his high school’s “Huskie Helpers” because of his Christ-like nature.
The Francis Asbury Award celebrates United Methodist individuals who have contributed to fostering United Methodist ministries in higher education at the local, district, or annual conference level. Mark Stotler, chair of the Conference Higher Education and Campus Ministry Team, was the recipient of the 2022 Asbury award for his knowledge of and dedication to the ministry of higher education and campus ministry.
Caroline Nichols and Katie Howard, co-chairs of Conference Council on Youth Ministries (CCYM), celebrated youth ministries and invited all churches to encourage their youth to participate in CCYM.
Amy Mullins, Camp Director of Spring Heights, celebrated that in-person camp will be held at Spring Heights during the summer of 2022 and DaySpring traveling camps will be available in locations around the Conference.