As delegates, clergy, laity and others gathered for opening Worship, all were blessed with the music of the Heart of Worship praise band from the First Elkins United Methodist Church.
With a large crowd in attendance, the Wesleyan District held its annual Conference on 26th of May at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church in Buckhannon.
Worship was led by the Rev. Steve Meadows, pastor of First United Methodist in Buckhannon. The Wesleyan District Superintendent, the Rev. Mary Ellen Finegan, shared a message of hope and love, encouraging each person in attendance to continue to not only “go to Jerusalem,” but to also “go to Samaria,” serving people who might be in a different place, sharing with those who are hurting and in need of our help. She applauded the churches who provide outreach programs, such as addiction treatment programs and food pantries, and challenged all to look past the reasons why somebody is in the situation they are in. “Just wrap them in God’s love,” Rev. Finegan asserted.
After holy communion led by host pastor, Rev. Helen Oates, and closing prayer, Rev. Finegan called to order the business portion of the conference.
After electing a Secretary to record the meeting, the next order of business was sharing Ministry Moments.
“Do you like to cook?” Rev. Alicia Rapking, outgoing director of the Upshur Parish House & Crosslines, gave us not only an overview of services from the agency, but also challenged those in attendance to “come to see for yourself” the life changing experience of helping those in need – something as simple as helping cook or serve a meal.
Rev. Cliff Schell then spoke on the outreach and mission of Tyrand Cooperative Ministries, which provides a food pantry, hand’s on home repairs, and emergency assistance of medications, rent and utilities, as well as a back-to-school store and Christmas store, in Randolph County.
Lastly, Christy Nichols spoke on Camping Ministries, it’s continued relevance in today’s high tech society, and it’s mission to the youth of the WV Conference. She described Spring Heights, the 950-acre United Methodist retreat, where youth can unplug and get closer to God and nature. She distributed brochures and encouraged attendees to identify youth who might benefit from camp.
Rev. Finegan then moved into sharing the work of the church around the District and introduced Jim Minutelli, director of Lay Ministry for the District, who gave an overview of the District’s first face-to-face CLM classes and two successful Lay Academies during the past year.
He then led a services of recognition for the Lay Servants and Lay Speakers in attendance, as well as an affirmation service for the Certified Lay Ministers who were present.
James Burrough, Bonnie Starkey, and Nathan Weaver were recognized by Rev. Finegan as being approved by BOOM for ordination as an Elder, while seven pastors were affirmed and honored as they enter into a retirement relationship with the connection, including Ron Brown, Kenny Kendall, Tim Conrad, Leonard Sweet, Gayle Lesure, Nancy Killingworth, and Clara Peggs.
In a Rememberance of Clergy and Spouses service, those saints of the church who had moved “into the church triumphant” were memorialized.
Eighteen clergy moving to new appointments were asked to stand and be recognized for their itinerate service to the Church.
The remainder of the two and a half hour meeting was filled with the report of the Committee of Nominations, setting of the District Promotional Fund and Fair Share, the acceptance of the resolution for payment of the 2020 Education Funds, and a motion to accept all other reports contained in the District Conference Directory.
The conference ended with the closing hymn “Lord of the Dance!”