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North Georgia lay leader stresses importance of laity, clergy working together

North Georgia lay leader stresses importance of laity, clergy working together

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

North Georgia lay leader stresses importance of laity, clergy working together

May 18, 2007  News media contact: Tita Parham*
800-282-8011  Orlando {0673}

NOTE: A headshot of Powell is available at

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

LAKELAND — The lay speaker for the 2008 General Conference will give Florida Conference laity a preview of her address when she speaks to them at the 2007 Florida Annual Conference Event.

Lyn Powell

Lyn Powell, lay leader of the North Georgia Conference and the first woman to hold that position, will address the laity at their session June 6, while clergy are meeting in a separate session.

Powell said she is excited about the opportunity and looking forward to the 2008 General Conference April 23-May 2 in Fort Worth, Texas.

From serving on the executive committee of the National Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders to president of the Southeastern Jurisdiction’s lay leader association, Powell has been heavily involved in lay ministry at all levels — from a denominational standpoint to the district level.

She also serves as a member of the World Methodist Council executive committee and on her conference’s extended cabinet, Board of Ordained Ministry, Committee on Episcopacy and Bishop’s Vision Forum, among other conference and jurisdictional responsibilities related to lay ministry. She has also been a delegate to General and Jurisdictional conferences.

In her time with conference laity Powell said she will seek to make the connection between the importance of clergy and laity working together, tying in with the theme “Disciples Transforming the World,” the focus of her 25-minute presentation to the church’s top law-making body next April. In that address she plans to grapple with a number of weighty topics.

“As I have worked with laity and clergy in our conference and also across the denomination, several questions have begun to form in my mind,” she said. “What is the nature of the calling of the laity, particularly as it relates to the calling of the clergy? How do the two callings intersect and intertwine? How can we live out our calling as laity … what would that ‘living out’ look like? How does our profile as laity differ today from our profile in the first 150 years of Methodism in this country?”

Powell’s General Conference topic was chosen in February 2006 during the annual meeting of the Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders. The group wanted her presentation to relate closely to the proposed theme of General Conference, “Hope for the Future: Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for a Transformed World.”

Each quadrennium, all active denominational conference lay leaders are eligible to apply to deliver the address by submitting a manuscript to the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD). Within the application process they are asked to conceal their home jurisdictions as much as possible. GBOD then selects a review committee of five conference lay leaders, one from each of the five jurisdictions. After reading the submitted addresses, the committee selects one by blind vote to be presented as the laity address to General Conference.

The application deadline for the 2008 General Conference was Sept. 1, 2006. Powell was notified last December that she had been selected to give the pivotal address. She said she is honored to have been selected.

“There are so many gifted writers and speakers in our family of United Methodist conference lay leaders, that after e-mailing my document I completely dismissed any thought that it might be chosen,” Powell said. “I happily went back to the task of being conference lay leader of North Georgia.”

Now that she will have an international stage at General Conference, Powell said she will use it to the best of her ability.

“For some time I have been concerned about our loss of membership in the denomination,” she said. “We lost 70,000 in the United States last year and 60,000 the year before that. In fact, like every other mainline denomination, we have lost membership since the late 1970s.

“But I take great encouragement in the laity renewal movement that is spreading throughout the church, as we laity begin to reclaim our historic mandate for ministry. More and more our clergy are beginning to equip the laity to do the ministry and to lead the church, with exciting results in our communities and around the world. God is not done with The United Methodist Church yet.”

More information about the “From Generation to Generation” 2007 Florida Annual Conference Event is available on the conference Web site at


This article relates to the 2007 Florida Annual Conference Event.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.