I would like to thank you for the opportunity to be your lay representative at the Holston Annual Conference. It was a wonderful experience! The worship and music were outstanding. The messages were inspiring and even the business meetings for the most part were interesting. Elders, deacons, deaconesses, and missionaries were ordained and commissioned. There was a moving memorial service for the pastors and the wives of pastors who died in the past year, including our own Bill Akers. There was also a recognition of those who retired. The mission kits and buckets were blessed and sent on their way to Liberia and Zimbabwe. There were too many events and reports to share all of them with you, even in a condensed form, but much of the information is available on the Holston.org website.
Many of you are interested and concerned about the homosexual issue in our denomination. I want to caution you to get your information from our Pastor, Bishop and Holston conference. There is a lot of misinformation on TV, radio and social media. Until a vote is taken at the General Conference in 2024, there has been no change in the Discipline.
I hope you will be encouraged by the “State of the Church” address Bishop Wallace-Padgett shared at annual conference. You can see her address on Holston.org under Annual Conference: Live Stream Recordings by clicking the Monday Morning Business Session beginning at minute 50. It's a 13 minute address in which she addresses the current stormy season of our denomination. The points she highlights are:
We are in a challenging, ever changing, stormy, tumultuous, uncertain and difficult season.
It is always the right season to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
The way we navigate difficulties speaks volumes about who we are.
What we do is of critical importance. How we do it is of equal importance.
A team has been appointed (and more will be added) who have been meeting to discern who God is calling us to be.
Keep faithfully being the church.
It is the team's vision that the majority of Holston will continue on the journey together rather than disaffiliate.
We will bless those who discern to disaffiliate. We ask those leaving to bless us as well.
We have been and are a conference of highly valued streams of traditionalists, progressives and centrists. Together we make a better church.
We will continue to honor our church's polity as discerned by the General Conference (in 2024).
Our focus will be discipleship.
We will emphasize what we have in common instead of our differences.
She ended her address by leading all 1400 plus of us in the Apostle's Creed. That is a cherished and blessed memory of the conference for me. Under her leadership the conference was one of respect and honor of every participant while recognizing our doctrinal differences as we navigate moving forward as the church.
I will be happy to answer any questions or help you find online links to the conference.