Cabinet Meeting Summary- January 24-26, 2017

January 30, 2017

The Western North Carolina Conference Cabinet met in Huntersville January 24-26, 2017.  The primary focus of their work related to the preparations needed to address the appointment-making process.  The Bishop and the Cabinet began by affirming the values guiding this process, including an affirmation that we are all a part of the Body of Christ and therefore this work reflects the work of God.  Second, we affirmed the mission of the Church as our first priority; the reason for which we were baptized and ordained.  The Cabinet also agreed that consultation with clergy and pastor/staff parish relations committees in preparation for this work was extremely important.  Finally we gave thanks for our clergy, their sacrifice, and their calling, as we affirmed faithful ministry in difficult places and our desire to reward faithfulness and fruitfulness. The Cabinet celebrated the wonderful response of our churches in contributing to the ministries identified in our conference connectional giving.  This year, we once again matched the best response we have had in many years, contributing 88%; a half percent higher than 2016.  In terms of the Conference budget, this represents a significant increase in dollars for mission.  There was appreciation given to the Smoky Mountain District who contributed 99.7% of their missional giving!  We offered thanksgiving for those congregations who contributed 100% for the first time, and gave thanks for the ministry in each district, recognizing that participating in the missional giving of our conference, as our first priority before we contribute to personal interests, reflects a spiritual gift of stewardship that strengthens community. The District Superintendents spent time discussing how each annual conference around the world will be setting aside a week to pray for our denomination as the Commission on “A Way Forward” begins its work.  Each conference is being assigned a specific week to invite clergy and churches to pray for making new disciples, for those working on the assigned Commission, and for our life and work together.  The Western North Carolina Conference is scheduled to initiate prayers and join the denomination in this effort, February 19-25, 2017.  All churches and clergy in our conference are encouraged to finds ways to pray for our denomination during that week. On January 25, the Cabinet met with the Board of Ordained Ministry Executive Committee to discuss this year’s candidates for provisional and full membership in our conference.  This annual meeting offers time to affirm the gifts of ministry within our candidates and to remind us of how important the call into ministry is to each individual.  In addition, the Conference Nominations Committee convened to fill three vacancies on the Council on Finance & Administration.  These nominations were identified and this work is now being confirmed. Finally, the Cabinet reinforced its commitment to Thriving Rural Communities and to Duke Divinity School, by affirming that we would honor the five year commitment these Thriving Rural Fellows made in order to acquire financial aid for their seminary education.  In addition, the superintendents focused discussion around retirements and the impact this will have on appointment making this year by sharing some of the consultations offered by churches and their insights into the need for pastoral leadership specific to their context.   The Bishop and Cabinet closed the cabinet meeting by celebrating the commitment of so many churches and clergy in our conference to the mission of the church.