Wrap-up: 2019 Memphis Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, June 2-4, Collierville, TN


Bishop William T. (Bill) McAlilly presided over the 2019 Memphis Annual Conference. (Photo by Lane Gardner Camp) Click on link above left for lots more photos.

PHOTO ALBUM | Click Here 
VIDEOs shown during annual conference | Click Here
VIDEOs of worship services | Click Here
MORE INFORMATION | www.memphis-umc.net/2019AC


“Hold steady” was heard more than once from Bishop William T. (Bill) McAlilly as he presided over the 2019 Memphis Annual Conference in Collierville, Tennessee, Sunday through Tuesday, June 2-4.

McAlilly’s expression calmed Annual Conference delegates using electronic voting devices for the first time ever to elect delegates that will represent the Memphis Conference at the General (global) and Jurisdictional (southeast) Conferences of The United Methodist Church in 2020.
“Breathe and carry on,” Bishop McAlilly said as he reported on the aftermath of the 2019 Special Session of General Conference that took place in February in St. Louis, Missouri.
“Guiding principles and values will not change,” he told delegates before he presided over voting on the creation of a new conference (with the Tennessee Conference) in 2021. The results of the vote will be announced on or after Tennessee Conference delegates vote on June 13 during their Annual Conference in Brentwood, Tennessee. As resident bishop for the Nashville Episcopal Area, McAlilly serves both conferences.
“Remembering Who We Are: Word, Water & Witness” was the theme McAlilly chose for the three days of business, worship and celebration.


Collierville United Methodist Church hosted the event that drew 569 lay and clergy delegates, plus families, observers and guests.

Worship Services

Memorial Service took place Sunday afternoon to remember clergy members and clergy spouses who died in the previous year. Rev. Dr. Joe Geary, retiring director of Connectional Ministries, preached. Click HERE for text of his message.

Those remembered (in order of their deaths) were Susan Ailene Bennett, Delores Broyle,s Ava Jean Wildes, Joan Eickhoff, Grace Russell, Bernice Walker, Carol Montgomery, Thomas G. Small, Norma Jean Clark, Thomas Wright Pillow, Don Barnett, Pearl Thomas, Bob Rose, Donna German, Paul Lynn, Gene Davenport, Barry Roberts, A. Zolon Clayton, Jr. Doris Eubanks, Joe Walker, Sr., Johnie B. Arnold, William Copeland, Ronnie Cunningham, John Baker-Batsel, Irene Chandler, John Andrew Fisher, Jr., Loletta Bratt, John Kilzer, Zada Russ, Mary Helen Barnes, Gloria D. Gunter, Stanley McDaniel and Glen Scott.

The Opening Worship Service took place Sunday evening. Dr. Deborah Smith, superintendent of the Metro District, delivered the message: "Remembering Who We Are: Word." The service included commissioning of summer 2019 ministry interns serving with Project Transformation and Project Bridge. Click HERE for text of her message.

Retirement Service took place Monday morning. Clergy retiring from active ministry, along with their spouses, were recognized. The "passing of the mantle" celebrated a new generation of clergy leaders.

The retiring class with 554 years of collective service included Drew Brewer, Gail Bruno-Jenkins, Marti Bunch, Rick Dye, Joe Geary, James Graham, J. Ron Johnson, Sharon Lewis-Karamoko, Kenny Locke, James Loftin, Dale Mathis, Michael Morris, Donald Park, Charles Pittman, Ben Rainey, Paul Scheirer, Daniel Tilly and H. Greg Waldrop.

Click HERE to read farewell letters submitted by some of the retiring clergy. Following a motion from the floor Monday morning that was passed to permit retiring clergy to address those in attendance, each retiree received a few minutes at the microphone.

An Afternoon Worship Service took place Monday. Bishop McAlilly delivered the message: "Remembering Who We Are: Water."

The Service of Licensing, Commissioning and Ordination took place Monday evening. Bishop McAlilly preached the sermon, “Abiding on the Journey.”

Those called to and affirmed for ministry were licensed as local pastors, commissioned and ordained as deacons and elders: 

  • Three were licensed as local pastors: Christy Brown, Mike Fitzpatrick and Jamie Smith  
  • Two received provisional membership: Larry Chitwood and Earnestine Hunt
  • One was ordained deacon: Janean Tinsley
  • Three were ordained elder: Amanda Crice, Chris Eaves and Amanda Hartmann Westmoreland
The Service of Sending took place Tuesday afternoon and was themed, “Remembering Who We Are: Witness.” This service included the fixing of clergy appointments for 2019-20. Click HERE for the list of clergy appointments.
Witness Testimonies

In support of the “witness” part of the Annual Conference theme, testimonies were heard on Tuesday from four young adults, one from each of the Memphis Conference’s four districts. Three were previously recorded and shown as video during the Annual Conference. One was a live testimony.
  • Shelby Bowles | McKenzie First United Methodist Church, McKenzie, TN, Tennessee River District | Click HERE for pre-recorded testimony.
  • Rev. Amanda Crice, University of Tennessee (Martin, TN) Wesley Foundation, Mississippi River District | Click HERE for pre-recorded testimony.
  • Kimberly Curry | Fulton First United Methodist Church, Fulton, KY, Purchase District | Click HERE for pre-recorded testimony.
  • Morgan Stafford, University of Memphis Wesley Foundation, Metro District
Election of 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegates

Elections took place to choose lay and clergy delegates to represent the Memphis Conference at General (worldwide) Conference and Jurisdictional (Southeastern U.S.) Conference in 2020. A total of 43 ballots (22 laity and 21 clergy) were needed to complete the election by electronic voting devices.

Clergy Delegates to 2020 General Conference:
  • Autura Eason-Williams, Capleville UMC, Memphis, TN, Metro District - first clergy delegate
  • Rob Martin, Purchase District Superintendent, Kirksey, KY - second clergy delegate
Lay Delegates to 2020 General Conference:
  • David R. Reed, Martin First UMC, Martin, TN, Mississippi River District - first lay delegate
  • Frank Holbrook, Martin First UMC, Martin, TN, Mississippi River District - second lay delegate
Clergy Delegates to 2020 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference:
  • Cynthia D. Davis, Mississippi River District Superintendent, Alamo, TN - first clergy delegate (also first clergy alternate to General Conference)
  • Amanda Hartman Westmoreland, Adamsville First UMC, Adamsville, TN AND Mt. Vinson UMC, Stantonville, TN, Tennessee River District - second clergy delegate (also second clergy alternate to General Conference)
  • Johnny Jeffords, St. John's UMC, Memphis, TN, Metro District – alternate clergy delegate
  • Sara Corum, Trinity UMC, Memphis, TN, Metro District - alternate clergy delegate
 Lay Delegates to 2020 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference:
  • Josh Shaw, Alamo First UMC, Alamo, TN, Mississippi River District - first lay delegate (also first lay alternate to General Conference)
  • Christian Solomon, Good Shepherd UMC, Memphis, TN, Metro District - second lay delegate (also second lay alternate to General Conference)
  • Elyse Bell, Paris First UMC, Paris, TN, Tennessee River District – alternate lay delegate
  • Melba Mitchell, Lighthouse UMC, Alamo, TN, Mississippi River District – alternate lay delegate
General Conference will take place in May 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jurisdictional Conference will take place in July 2020 in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina.

Click HERE to read more about the delegate nomination, voting and election process.

Resolution to Form New Conference
Delegates voted on a resolution to form a new conference with the Tennessee Conference, also served by Bishop McAlilly as part of the Nashville Episcopal Area. Click HERE to read the resolution and three exhibits.

Voting results will be announced by Bishop McAlilly on or after June 13 when the 2019 Tennessee Annual Conference has scheduled its vote.

UPDATE 6/17/2019: Delegates of the Memphis and Tennessee Conferences affirmed the creation of a new conference. Click HERE to read report from Bishop McAlilly that he posted on his blog.
Celebration of Church Mergers
Delegates and attendees celebrated:
  • the recent official charter of Peace Tree United Methodist Church in Collierville, Tennessee, which has merged with Cross Roads United Methodist Church, also in Collierville – to be called Peace Tree United Methodist Church.  
  • the merger of Grimes Memorial United Methodist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, with Mullins United Methodist Church, also in Memphis – to be called Mullins United Methodist Church.
Other Resolutions

Three other resolutions (Click HERE to read) were submitted. Two passed and one failed:
  • Resolution to create a Committee on Ethnic Local Church Concerns - Failed
  • Resolution to observe Martin Methodist College Month - Passed
  • Resolution regarding Methodist Educational Funds - Passed 
Click HERE to understand the process for these resolutions.

Youth Participation

Collierville UMC youth sold food and refreshments during Annual Conference while youth from throughout the conference led and offered prayers and participated in worship as speakers, musicians and vocalists.
Conference youth and young adults gave a team report on their work of the last year that elicited a standing ovation.

Conference youth and leaders participated in a Youth Annual Gathering (YAG) at nearby Covenant United Methodist Church in Cordova, that ran Friday through Sunday, May 31 – June 2, ending before the start of Annual Conference.
A total of 46 youth and adults from all four districts participated in YAG. They spent time getting to know one another, serving in mission, having holy conversations and leading worship for Covenant United Methodist Church on Sunday morning. 

Conference youth received a $300 gift for their activities from the sale of a painting displayed at Annual Conference. Created and donated by Rev. Lyndsay Byard and titled “Holy Mud,” the painting was inspired by the work of conference youth to “see all the people.”

2020 Budget

Delegates approved a conference budget of $5,123.533.00 for mission and ministry in 2020. This is a 6.82 percent decrease from the 2019 budget.
  • Click HERE for 2020 Narrative & Summary Budget brochure prepared by the Memphis Conference Council on Finance and Administration (CFA).
  • Click HERE for 2020 budget details.
Amendment to Standing Rule 21

Delegates approved an amendment to Standing Rule 21 at the request of the Nashville Episcopal Area Archives and History Commission. The amended rule reduces from 75 to 72 the percentage of proceeds from sales of church property designated for planting new communities of faith in the Memphis Conference. The 3 percent difference is now designated for ongoing care and storage of archives and artifacts related to closed churches. Click HERE to read more about this change.

Board of Pension and Health Benefits Report

Spurred by a friendly amendment during Annual Conference, a paragraph was added to the Board of Pension and Health Benefits Report. A new 5-page PDF replaces pages 36-40 of the 64-page Ministry and Board Reports document in pre-conference delegate materials (consent items).

The added paragraph on page 2 says, “The Memphis Conference Board of Pensions and Health Benefits, within ninety days of the close of the 2019 session of the Conference will place the balance of the designated Post-Retirement Healthcare account at close of AC 2019 into an irrevocable trust for the benefit of the retired clergy of the Memphis Annual Conference who are covered under the provisions of the retiree health care plan as passed by AC 2016 (above).”


Harry Denman Evangelism Awards for the Memphis Conference were presented to three individuals, along with an additional special award this year.
  • Youth: Waide Jackson 
  • Lay: Delaine Robertson 
  • Clergy: Rev. Amanda Crice 
  • Special award: Susan Davidson 
Sponsored by the Foundation for Evangelism, the Denman Award honors persons who have made outstanding efforts in Wesleyan evangelism by helping to bring others into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
The One Matters Discipleship Award was presented to Long Street United Methodist Church in Memphis. Sponsored by Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church, the award recognizes a church that has moved from zero professions of faith and baptisms to positive numbers. The award includes a $1,000 gift. Accepting the award was the church’s pastor, Rev. Tondala Hayward.
Bishop’s Award of Excellence in Scouting and Shepherd Church Charter Recognition were presented to Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop 452, chartered by Arlington United Methodist Church in Arlington, Tennessee.
Accepting the awards were Teresa Pinkston-Rector, chartered organization rep and religion coordinator for the church’s scouting ministry; Rev. Larry Woodruff, church pastor; and Thom Henning, church lay leader.
McRae-Lawson Peace with Justice Awards, named in memory of Rev. Frank McRae and in honor of Rev. Dr. James Lawson, were presented by the Memphis Conference Peace With Justice ministry. Recipients were:
  • Rev. James Luvene, who pastors Lighthouse, Hughlet and Ross United Methodist Churches in the Mississippi River District for “working for justice for low wage persons, children, the poor and needy, persons who are locked up and persons who are locked out."  
  • Memphis Conference Youth Council (CYC) and advisors for their “work over the past year helping youth ‘see all the people.’” The group included Rev. Amanda Crice, Rev. Amanda Hartmann Westmoreland, Josh Shaw, Morgan Stafford, Tiffany Dowdy, Waide Jackson and Allison Doyle. Also recognized were Lakeshore Camp and Retreat Center in Eva, Tennessee, and University of Tennessee at Martin Wesley Foundation worship team.
Laity News
Reporting on the conference’s lay servant ministry, it was announced that 45 certified lay servant ministers are currently serving churches across the Memphis Conference. During Monday’s lay servant lunch, a total of 13 were commissioned who had been certified during 2018-19.

Rev. Dr. Philip D. Jamieson was the speaker for the laity lunch on Tuesday. He is president of the United Methodist Foundation for the Memphis and Tennessee Annual Conferences. "Start at the End" was the title of Jamieson’s message about how to live faithfully today in the midst of uncertainty. 

David R. Reed, Memphis Conference lay leader, and Janice McCallen, associate lay leader, announced that Reed is stepping down from his position and McCallen is assuming the lay leader position beginning July 1.

Bishop McAlilly reported the totals of offerings received during Annual Conference: 2020 Memphis Annual Conference

Delegates voted to meet June 7-9, 2020, at Germantown United Methodist Church in Germantown, Tennessee, for the 2020 Memphis Annual Conference.

UPDATE 9-27-19 Revised dates and venues are announced.
Streaming, Social Media and Mobile App   

2019 marked the seventh time the Memphis Annual Conference was streamed, allowing non-attendees to watch live from their homes, churches and offices.

Stats revealed 1,353 views on Tuesday and 645 on Monday. Streaming was unavailable on Sunday due to a large outage affecting primary and backup hosting services, a technical issue that was beyond the control of the Annual Conference or host location. 

Using hashtags #2019mac, among others, social media provided a way for conference attendees to participate in online discussion and sharing before, during and after the event. The Memphis Conference has a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For the fourth year, a mobile app allowed delegates and others access to Annual Conference information and materials in electronic and digital formats before, during and after Annual Conference.
For the first time, an Annual Conference Snapchat filter was made available that generated 126 swipes, 71 pictures or videos sent with the filter, 1,900 views from shares and 1,100 individual Snapchat users.  

Other Business
Delegates and attendees also: 
  • Watched a summary report in video format produced by United Methodist Communications about the 2019 General Conference Special Session held in February. This was followed by summary commentary from Bishop McAlilly.
  • Received reports from the Council on Finance and Administration, Board of Ordained Ministry, Board of Pension and Health Benefits and Committee on Episcopacy.
  • Approved conference nominations report.
  • Heard news/reports (some with videos) from Martin Methodist College, Project Transformation, Black College Fund of the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Area Hispanic/Latino Strategic Planning team, Black Methodists for Church Renewal, Nashville Area Committee on Episcopacy, Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare, United Methodist Women and United Methodist Global Ministries.
  • Visited exhibits and displays of more than 40 organizations with ties to the Memphis Conference and The United Methodist Church
  • Benefited from Spanish language and hearing-impaired translation/interpretation services.
  • Benefited from free childcare services (nursery and kids’ camp).
  • Received ministry and board reports in pre-conference materials and during Annual Conference.
  • Utilized a photo booth (backdrop) that provided a place for individuals, couples and groups to take photos with the repeating annual conference logo as a background.
  • Were welcomed to Collierville Monday morning by Stan Joyner, mayor.
  • Received reports on charge line changes.
  • Mourned the closing of six churches: Highland Heights and St. Timothy in the Metro District, Chapel Hill, East Dyersburg and Rush Creek in the Mississippi River District, and Silerton in the Tennessee River District.
~Compiled by Lane Gardner Camp, Memphis Conference Director of Communications