Delegates pass proposals to reshape conference entities, mission (June 5, 2004)

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Delegates pass proposals to reshape conference entities, mission

June 5, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0086}

An e-Review Feature
By J.A. Buchholz**

DAYTONA BEACH — Delegates to the 2004 Florida Annual Conference Event here approved eliminating the Conference Council on Ministries in favor of the Conference Equipping Network or CEN.

The vote took place June 4 during the morning business session.

The proposal was recommended during the Conference Table’s presentation at the afternoon session June 3. Other proposals to restructure the conference’s camps and retreat center and adopt a Global Mission Wheel model were also voted on and approved. The vote on the fourth Conference Table proposal, which recommended restructuring the conference’s districts, was delayed until the next day due to lack of time. It also passed. 

The creation of the CEN is intended to move the conference away from maintaining programs and toward identifying and fulfilling future leadership and ministry needs.
The CEN’s core is the Leadership Connection, a team of no more than 15 laity and clergy who will be responsible for setting the vision for and identifying ministry needs. That group will also create task teams to focus on meeting the identified ministry needs and visions.
The CEN will focus more on providing information, research into ministry trends and needs, developing ministries and equipping people for those ministries, and seeking and evaluating input and feedback to assist in future research.

Connectional Ministries Director the Rev. Dr. Anne Burkholder says the CCOM structure no longer works, adding, “We can’t function in the old way any longer.”

The recommendation to create the new body stems from an Aug. 13, 2003, meeting, which was a follow-up to previous discussions about restructuring. A task force of conference staff composed the first draft of the proposal, and it was revised and endorsed by the Florida Conference Cabinet Dec. 2 of last year.

CEN will live out the mission and vision of the Florida Conference by equipping local churches, various “mission outposts” of the conference, districts, and conference boards and committees for the task of making disciples of Jesus Christ. It will include the Leadership Connection, which will be responsible for vision setting and identifying ministry needs of the conference; focused task teams responsible for strategic thinking on specific areas of interest and concern; and groups whose purposes are to fulfill specific intentions directed by the Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church or conference Standing Rules.

Mary Alice Massey, former conference lay leader and current member of Southside United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, made a recommendation from the floor to include at least six or more laity on the Leadership Connection. It was approved.

“We have laity who are forward-thinking,” she said.

The proposal to restructure the conference's camps and retreat center also passed. It includes the creation of a Board of Camps and Retreat Ministries (BCRM) that will oversee all of the conference’s camp and retreat facilities and establish a vision and mission for them; develop a comprehensive master plan and long- and short-term goals; support the facilities; and maintain the properties.

BCRM members will be nominated by the Conference Committee on Leadership and elected by the annual conference in four classes of three persons each. They will be able to serve up to a total of eight years. Members will work to combine decisions about ministry, facilities and land and have a management approach to promote financial stability.

The proposal also calls for local advisory committees at each site to act as advocates or boosters for the property. They will also identify special projects, needs and ideas for the ministry of the site and implement them with the approval of BCRM.

An executive director will oversee the ministries, facilities and development of the camps and retreat facilities and manage senior staff at each location.

The Mission Wheel proposal approved by delegates is a mission model divided into four quadrants. In the center is “Christ Over All.” The top two quadrants are titled “Open Hearts” and “Open Minds,” and the bottom quadrants are “Open Doors” and a new addition to the United Methodist Church manifest, “Open Hands.” The four quadrants are encircled with the words “Justice,” “Mercy,” “Love,” “Grace,” “Peace,” “Compassion,” “Forgiveness” and “Empowerment.”

To view daily photos of the event’s activities and business visit


This article relates to the 2004 Florida Annual Conference Event.

*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.

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