The theme of this year’s Annual Conference set for June 11-13 is “Leading with the Holy Spirit” – and Bishop Leonard Fairley is looking forward to seeing the Holy Spirit at work in Kentucky’s UMC churches.
Annual Conference is when the pastors and lay leaders of the KAC’s roughly 800 churches conduct their official business and hold sometimes-difficult meetings and conversations. At or near the top of the list this year will be the continuing discussion of the church’s position on human sexuality.
After three years in Bowling Green, the conference is returning to the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington. But Annual Conference is more than just a meeting of pastors and lay delegates.
“It always feels like a family reunion to me,” said Rev. Julie Love, the KAC’s director of Connectional Ministries. As conference secretary, part of her role is to serve as general manager of Annual Conference, overseeing all aspects of the session.
In keeping with this year’s theme focused on the Holy Spirit, planners are building in plenty of time for worship and celebrating the KAC’s ministries, with a special emphasis on Campus Ministries. More information can be found at: https://www.kyumc.org/ac2018missionoffering
Rev. Love said one key piece of legislation also will be voted on, a correction to a constitutional amendment that was previously voted on in 2017. The amendment concerns discrimination against women and girls and because of the earlier error needs to be voted on again this year. More information is available at: https://www.kyumc.org/ac2018proposedconstitutionalamendmenti
Rev. Love also said a petition has been received from two churches concerning the human sexuality debate leading up to a special General Conference session next February. She said the conference’s Petitions and Resolutions Committee is processing it ahead of Annual Conference. The text of the petition can be found at: https://www.kyumc.org/ac2018petition
Bishop Fairley said one special feature this year will be to bless and recognize “PKs” – preachers’ kids – with prayer of blessing during the Sending Forth Service on the last day. College students will also be appreciated and recognized in various ways during the three-day conference, the bishop said.
Rev. Love said “care packages” for PKs who are moving this year will be distributed, provided their parents register for them. Parents who have not yet registered should email Connectional Ministries assistant Judy Noel at firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, Rev. Love said, plans are in the works for the PKs and their families to join Bishop Fairley – who loves interacting with young people – for a retreat at Camp Loucon on Saturday, April 27, 2019.
The Communications Team will have a booth during Annual Conference to collect stories of glory sightings from churches, said Cathy Bruce, the KAC’s director of communications. Pastors or other church representatives can drop by the booth and share their stories, which will be posted on the conference’s website.
Another goal of the bishop at this year’s conference is to continue to foster a general sense of abundance rather than scarcity. The bishop is gratified that his Extended Cabinet has stepped up and pledged $20,000 for this year’s Mission Offering.
The Extended Cabinet’s gift, as well as other donations to be collected in Covington, will be divided this way: 45 percent for development opportunities for campus ministers and students, 45 percent for each of the 10 campus ministries across the KAC, and 10 percent for Africa University to assist in developing leaders in UMC churches throughout that continent.
“I hope that’s the beginning of breaking out of that scarcity mode,” Bishop Fairley said of the Cabinet’s gift. “It has to begin at the top.”
For a full schedule of events and other information about Annual Conference, go to: https://www.kyumc.org/ac2018