Friday, July 07, 2006

United Methodist Nerds: Annual Conference 2006 Reports

For all of you United Methodist Nerds (like me - I spent an hour reading these things) the 2006 Annual Conference Reports can be found here. I personally find it interesting to read the reports and to look at the membership/worship/Sunday School statistics.

Some items of note: I don't find any annual conference in the United States that reported gains in all three areas - worship, membership, and Sunday School, except the Troy Annual Conference. However, Troy's numbers are not 'on' in that apparently, in previous years, some 20% of churches in the conference were not reporting statistics. So their actual change in numbers is hard to discern!

Other items - noting every conference that did not have across the board losses (not all include Sunday School stats in their reports):
Alaska Missionary - Worship up, Sunday School up
North Carolina - Membership up
Tennessee - Membership and Sunday School up
North Georgia - Membership up
Memphis - Sunday School up
Red Bird Missionary - Membership up
Kentucky - Worship up
Central Texas - Membership and Worship up
Missouri - Worship up
Kansas East - Worship up
Louisiana - Worship up
Arkansas - Worship and Sunday School up
Oklahoma Missionary - Sunday School up
Peninsula Delaware - Worship up
Alabama West-Florida - Membership up
New York - Worship up
Oregon-Idaho - Worship up
Rio Grande - Worship up
Wisconsin - Worship up
Northern Illinois - Worship up
North Indiana - Worship up

Of course, that list doesn't take into account how much up/down conferences were. Some had gains of 20 or 30, or losses of that size, others had gains/losses of thousands.

Other notables: The Virginia Annual Conference reports that 500 churches had no new members in the year, prompting a call for a focus on evangelism. One conference noted that statistics now call for "spiritual formation groups" to be counted in statistics as church school stats. Louisiana reported a commissioning of one "courtesy probationary elder." Anyone know what that means?

Several conferences, in response to Judicial Council Decision 1032, crafted resolutions in support of the Council of Bishops statement, in opposition to the decision, and/or calling for sexual orientation to not be a factor in membership in the UMC. Many other resolutions ranged from fair-trade, living wage, Israel/Palestine, Iraq War, federal marriage ammendment, etc.

One conference, I forget which, committed to making sure that their GC/Jurisdictional Conference delegations for 2008 were more diverse, ethnically, and in other ways. I thought that was pretty neat, since elections can be so political. Elections are next year, don't forget! I think, reading the report, that my own Annual Conference is far less political than we think we are! I guess that's good?!
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