Saturday Summary: WVAC 2022

By Judi Kenaston

Celebrating Campus Ministries

Campus Ministries: The Saturday morning session of the 2022 Annual Conference began with a celebration of the campus ministries around the Conference.  Campus pastors introduced included: Benjamin Wells (Marshall); Beth Johnson (WVU); Diann Nickerson (West Liberty); Felica Wooten Williams (Concord); Jonathan Acord (West Virginia Wesleyan); Lauren Godwin (Potomac State); and Maria Wiblin (Fairmont State).

Business Session:

The Business Session included passage of three resolutions from the Board of Trustees:

Melissa Shortridge recognized for service as a Conference Superintendent

Closed Properties and the Sale and Other Disposition of the Same.
Closed Churches – Real and Personal Property Funds.
Unlawful Appropriation of Church Property.

Budget: The body adopted the proposed 2023 budget of $11,915,221. This represents an overall decrease of 2.6% from the 2022 budget and includes a slight increase for Category 2 (Program and Missions).

Bishop Steiner Ball recognized outgoing Conference Superintendent Melissa Shortridge by reading a citation that highlighted her gifts for ministry including her vision, attention to detail, and her desire to create disciples.  Melissa will continue to serve the cabinet by organizing property matters.

During the Memorial Service 29 clergy, seven spouses, and 19 surviving spouses who had died since last year’s Annual Conference were remembered. Rev. Melissa Shortridge shared a message of comfort and hope.

Laity Recognitions:  During the afternoon session, Certified Lay Ministers were recognized by Kim Matthews, Associate Lay Leader and Director of Lay Ministries.

During the Laity Address Conference Lay Leader Kristi Wilkerson encouraged the Conference to commit to building bridges, making connections, and growing the Kingdom through Radical Love, Gratitude, Hospitality, and Compassion.

Bonnie MacDonald (Director of Leadership Formation) and Ken Willard (Director of Congregational Vitality) shared the goals of their joint ministry as Co-Directors of Connectional Ministries.

Certified Communicators: Laura Poarch, a member of the United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC) leadership team, recognized West Virginia Conference communicators Jim Minutelli (CLM) and Rev. Deborah Coble (WV Director of Communications) as the first to be Certified Communicators in the Denomination.

WV United Women in Faith President Sue Dostal shared the ministries of the United Women in Faith (formerly United Methodist Women), including how women have adapted their missions and continue to mentor and advocate for women, youth, and children. She invited conference women to attend the Annual Meeting in October 2022 and the Spiritual Growth Retreat next June.

George Hohmann, President of WV United Methodist Men, invited the men of the Conference to attend the annual UMM gathering at WVU Jackson’s Mill in September. The website has information about the UMM effort to maintain the All Faith Chapel at Jackson’s Mill.

During the Business Session, the Cabinet Property Report and Consent Calendar were approved.

Biondi Babies: Rev. Darick Biondi and Rev. Cyndi Briggs-Biondi introduced their twin daughters, Hildie and Iggie, who benefitted from the prayers of the Annual Conference.

The Conference voted to support the Resolution on Gun Violence submitted by the Conference Justice and Advocacy Team.  An amendment was approved that added an additional bullet point that will require the resolution be distributed to the Governors of Maryland and West Virginia, the State Senate Presidents, the State Speakers of the House and both Congressional delegations.

Jeff Taylor and Kim Matthews, United Methodist Foundation of WV, shared the work that is being done to promote ministry as a spiritual discipline that uses a spiritual approach to financial investment and distribution of funds. The Foundation is hosting an Online Academy to allow individuals and churches to understand the importance of developing a culture of giving as a ministry. 

Taylor encouraged participation in the Bishop’s Golf Challenge on July 11 at Sleepy Hollow Golf Club in Hurricane, WV.  The event enables funding of the Endowment for Religious and Spiritual Life at West Virginia Wesleyan College. 

Annual Conference Program Chair Krysta Rexroad Wolfe recognized the teams and individuals who made the Annual Conference a success and announced next year’s Annual Conference dates will be June 8 -11, 2023.

Following recognition of 2022 Retiring Clergy Class and the Service of Ordination, Commissioning, and Licensing on Sunday morning, the Conference was adjourned.

Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball presented the State of the Church address to close the Saturday afternoon session.