Dear friends in Christ in the Mississippi Conference,
Grace and peace to each of you in the name of Jesus Christ.
This year, our eighth here with you here in Mississippi, Mike and I give thanks for our life together with you in the ministry of The United Methodist Church. In honor and in memory of clergy who have blessed our journey, we will make a special gift at Annual Conference to fund Pre-82 Pension Benefits here in the Mississippi Conference.
The 2012 Annual Conference Offering is designated for the support of Pre-82 Pension Benefits. We all can call to mind the name of a clergy and clergy spouse who has graced our lives. Resources will be made available to you to use in your church so that all of us -- laity and clergy -- might together give so that these wonderful people will be supported in retirement.
Some have asked what they might do to honor the ministry Mike and I have had with you here in Mississippi. A most generous offering at the 2012 Annual Conference - for this purpose - will warm our hearts. We will be honored as retired clergy and spouses are supported.
Annual Conference Offerings have ranged in the past seven years from $79,000 to $172,000. I believe that the 2012 Mississippi Conference Offering will be at least $250,000 as we give thanks to God for clergy who have served and loved us. Now is our opportunity to remember and demonstrate our love for them.
Thank you for beginning today to plan for the largest annual conference offering in the history of your church -- for this most worthy cause.
With gratitude for our ministry together,
Hope Morgan Ward