By Bishop Thomas H. McGhee
The Appalachian Conference gathered at 9:00 am on Saturday, June 18, for its 106th Annual Session. Bishop Preston Mathena opened the conference with a welcome and prayer. We were led in worship by Jeremy Carter. After being introduced as the Presiding Officer, it was my pleasure to recognize the following:
Former Conference Superintendents: Rev. Walter Lee Wood, Rev. Glennard Quesenberry, Rev. Ed Wood, and Rev. Ken Kingrea. We also recognized the founding superintendent of the Ephesians 4 Network, Rev. Tony Atkinson.
College Presidents: Bishop James Leggett of Holmes Bible College and Dr. Ron White of Emmanuel College.
Missions: Steve & Betsy Cofer, John & Geraleen Talmage, Carl & Barbara Early, and Mrs. Margaret Rogers
I was blessed to share a presentation on our core value, “We Prayerfully Value Holiness” and to lead the conference in the celebration of Holy Communion.
Bishop Mathena presented the report of the Credentialing Committee. The conference granted Minister’s License to seven candidates and Ordination to nine ministers. After delivering a charge to the newly licensed ministers, Bishop Mathena and Assistant Superintendent Rev. Mike Dodson presented credentials and introduced the new ministers: Anthony Burnett, Zackary Cook, Elijah DeBoe, Joshua Graham, C. Randall Miller, Sherry Richards, and Bobby Singleton.
Bishop Preston Mathena shared the State of the Conference Report in which he expressed appreciation for the leaders of the past and the continuing mandate to fulfill the Great Commission. He reported that the conference had grown by 3 new church plants, 2 new Transfer Member churches, 1 new Affiliate church, and the relaunch of 3 churches. He recognized the ministry department leaders and shared the progress in each of those areas. Earlier in the week, the conference had dedicated a beautiful new conference center building which houses a new cafeteria along with several classroom/dining rooms. This building was completed debt free. Bishop Mathena shared a positive report on the finances of the conference and the story of the generosity of one of the churches who gave over $80,000 from their reserves to help a sister church. He concluded his excellent report with an emphasis on the core value of holiness. He stated that holiness is not just a value, but it is “who we are.” The conference attendees rose to their feet to express their appreciation for Bishop Mathena’s report and his leadership.
The Conference Secretary reported a registered delegation of 307 as we began one item of business, the election of a new member of the Executive Council. Nominations were taken and on the second ballot Rev. W.A. Mills was elected. Rev. Mills was invited to join the Executive Council on the platform and shared his heartfelt appreciation for being selected and his commitment to do his very best for the conference and for the Lord.
During the counting of ballots, Dr. Stan Toler was introduced as Discipleship Ministries’ Consultant for Stewardship. Dr. Toler shared a presentation on the need for stewardship training for our churches along with the strategy for leading “Give to Live” seminars across the church and resources that will be given to those who participate.
Dr. Ron White spoke on behalf of Emmanuel College and expressed appreciation to the conference for their part in assisting the school during their recent crisis. He encouraged the conference to continue to pray for the College and support them in their ongoing efforts to increase student enrollment as well as financial gifts.
The conference viewed an inspiring video presentation on the progress of Holmes College of the Bible. The new campus is quite impressive and the school is poised to make a great impact on the Kingdom in the years ahead.
Rev. Steve Willis, president of Maranatha College shared a report on the opportunity for ministers and lay persons to be trained locally in this conference-sponsored program. One of the graduates shared his story and the impact of the school on his life and ministry.
Bishop Mathena presented a number of awards to churches that are experiencing growth in various size categories. Rev. Ron Fredericks, Discipleship Ministries Director, presented recognition awards to several churches for their work in discipleship.
I was honored to lead in the ordination service for nine ministers: Angela Burroughs, Timothy Clyburn, Virginia S. Cornett, Joshua and Megan Kestner, Clayton Kipps, Steve Norris, Ronnie Saville, and Yves Toussaint.
Rev. Wanda Myers presented the Memoirs Report which included recognition of several ministers’ spouses who had passed during the year.
The conference stood adjourned at approximately 12:25 and gathered for lunch in their beautiful new cafeteria. It was my honor to be a part of the day and to serve alongside Bishop Mathena and the Executive Council.