The 2016 SEJ Conference is gathering at Lake Junaluska July 13-15. It begins Wednesday morning, with opening worship and will conclude on Friday with the Service of Consecration for newly elected episcopal leaders.
Live Streaming of all sessions will be available at www.lakejunaluska.com/plan_an_event/meeting_services/streaming.
Tuesday, July 12
On Tuesday, delegates had opportunity throughout the day to meet with those who have been nominated for the episcopacy, including North Alabama's Dr. Robin Scott. The evening concluded with a Hope and Unity prayer vigil.
Wednesday, July 13
The morning begins with opening worship. Bishop James King preaches the sermon and
Bishop B. Michael Watson leads those gathered in Holy Communion.
Bishop Jonathan Holston is presiding over this morning business session. The session begins with the Roll Call, Organization of the Conference, Adoption of Rules, Adoption of Agenda and greetings from Lake Junaluska.
Delegates are casting their first ballot in the process to elect five new Bishops for the Southeastern Jurisdiction.
Timothy E. Crisler, Lay Leader of the Mississippi Conference and President of the SEJ Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders gives the Laity Address.
Delegates elect Sharma Lewis from the North Georgia Conference on Ballot #1.
The Delegates are gathering for the afternoon session. Bishop Kenneth Carter is presiding. Bishop Will Willimon offers the prayer as the afternoon session begins.
There are no elections on Ballots 2 and 3.
Delegates elect David Graves from the Holston Conference on Ballot #4.
During the afternoon session, North Alabama Conference Lay Leader Steve Lyles helps present the report of the Committee on Coordination and Accountability. Delegates took time to celebrate the ministry of United Methodist Women, Emory University, and Hinton Rural Life Center.
Ballot 5 is declared invalid due to an irregularity in the number of total ballots cast. (Some people thought their electronic voting machines were not working so they also voted on a paper ballot. Thus the number of total ballots exceeded the number of delegates.) No election on Ballot 6.
Delegates elect Leonard Fairley from the North Carolina Conference on ballot # 7.
No elections on Ballots 8 and 9.
As the afternoon continues, delegates hear reports celebrating the opening of the General Board of Global Ministry’s office in Atlanta, Gulfside Assembly and Lake Junaluska.
Delegates elect Lawson Bryan from the Alabama-West Florida Conference and Sue Haupert-Johnson from the Florida Conference on ballot #10. All five new Southeastern Jurisdiction Bishops have now been elected.
Delegates gathered following dinner to continue their work. North Alabama's Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett is presiding over the Wednesday evening session. Delegates hear the Monitoring Report and watch videos celebrating the ministries of Candler School of Theology, United Methodist Men, Archives and History and the Intentional Growth Center.
The SEJ Committee on Finance & Administration Report presents a SEJ Budget which reduces Jurisdictional apportionments to 40% of 2013-2016 askings and 20% of 2009-2012 askings. The Conference approves this $1,774,000 budget for 2016-2019.
The Conference adjourns for the evening.
The Conference gathers for the morning session.
Thursday, July 14
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward is presiding.
The morning begins as delegates celebrate Ministries with Young People and hear the Young Person’s Address given by Todd Cox from Tennessee Conference.
Jorge Acevado gives a report from the Episcopacy Committee of which he is the chair. North Alabama members on this committee are Rev. Mark Parris and Scott Selman. The committee is scheduled to announce Bishop assignments later tonight.
During business delegates hear the Monitoring Report and celebrate the ministry of Gammon Theological Seminary and United Volunteers in Mission – SEJ.
They will now join together for a Service of Remembrance for those Bishops and Bishop Spouses who have died in the last quadrennium including Bishop Bob Morgan and Bishop Lloyd Knox.
Delegates gather on Thursday evening for a time to honor the five retiring bishops in the Southeastern Jurisdiction.
Those include the following:
- Bishop Young Jin Cho
- Bishop Lindsey Davis
- Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster
- Bishop James King
- Bishop B. Michael Watson
Prior to the time of worship, the SEJ College of Bishops presented a Southeastern Jurisdictional Missional Initiative
. Delegates accepted this recommendation.
Delegates also enjoy an energetic night of music highlighting the Africana Hymnal Project.
The Conference approves a slate of nominations from the Nominations Committee for the Jurisdiction - some serving on General Church teams and other on SEJ teams. They also affirmed nominations from the SEJ College of Bishops and SEJ Agencies and Ministries. Those from North Alabama serving in various leadership roles include the following:
- Robin Scott - Connectional Table
- Dale Cohen - United Methodist Publishing House (class of 2028)
- Steve Lyles - SEJ Committee on Coordination and Accountability
- Charlie Carlton - SEJ Council on Finance and Administration
- Sherill Clontz - SEJ Committee on Investigation
- Ron Schultz - SEJ Committee on Appeals
Boards of Directors of SEJ Agencies and Ministries:
- Charlene Gaines - Gulfside Association Board Of Directors
- Mollie M. Stewart - Gulfside President / CEO
- George Cobb - SEJ Commission On Archives And History / SEJ Heritage Center Board Of Directors
- Steve Lyles - SEJ Commission On Archives And History / SEJHeritage Center Board Of Directors
- Mary Bendall Henley - Intentional Growth Center Board Of Directors
- Matt Lacey - United Methodist Volunteers In Mission, SEJ, Board Of Directors
- Paulette West - UMVIM, SEJ Executive Director
- Thomas D. Bell Jr - Emory University Board Of Trustees
At the conclusion of the evening, the SEJ Episcopacy Committee announces the assignments for Bishops for 2016-2020.
- Alabama / West Florida - Bishop-elect David Graves
- Florida - Bishop Kenneth Carter
- Holston - Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor
- Kentucky / Red Bird (Louisville Area) - Bishop-elect Leonard Fairley
- Memphis / Tennessee (Nashville Area) - Bishop Bill McAlilly
- Mississippi - Bishop James Swanson
- North Alabama - Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett
- North Carolina - Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
- North Georgia - Bishop-elect Sue Haupert-Johnson
- South Carolina - Bishop Jonathan Holston
- South Georgia - Bishop-elect Lawson Bryan
- Virginia - Bishop-elect Sharma Lewis
- Western North Carolina - Bishop Paul Leeland
The 2016 SEJ Conference will conclude Friday morning with the Service of Consecration for the five newly elected episcopal leaders.