Resolutions approved at 2008 Annual Conference
Prayer Resolution to Annual Conference 2008
Whereas, Jesus is The Supreme Model of praying to God the Father (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 5:12-16; John 17:1-26);
Whereas, Jesus paid the price of time of praying to God the Father, morning and evening (Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12);
Whereas, the praying of Jesus to God the Father shows victories in The Kingdom of God (Matthew 14:19-21; Mark 5:1-20; John 11:38-45);
Whereas, Jesus shows us to be persistent in praying to God the Father (Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 18:1-8);
Whereas, the Holy Spirit and Jesus pray to God the Father in our behalf (Romans 8:26; 8:34);
Whereas, faithful praying by the disciples of Jesus, His mother, His brothers, and some devoted women helped to spark a flaming Pentecost and powerful Church (Acts 1:12-14; 2:1-47);
Whereas, praying to God the Father as Jesus prayed is a way of showing dependence upon the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1-5);
Whereas, Bishop Hope Morgan Ward would continue to welcome our prayers for her many needs and for her family;
Whereas, all our clergy with their families, all our laity with their families, and all our children and youth are standing in need of praying;
Therefore Be It Resolved:
That we continue our 12:00 o’clock noon daily prayer time for The United Methodist Church in Mississippi and beyond; whether our prayers are several seconds, minutes or longer in The Name of Jesus: and that we depend upon the Holy Spirit to direct us in our praying for The Body of Christ;
That we earnestly ask our Heavenly Father’s help for the continued recovery and restoration of our Katrina brother, sisters, youth, children, and churches;
That we ask our Pastors to inform The Church briefly from time to time about the 12:00 o’clock hour, urging their praying;
That any time during the last two weeks prior to Annual Conference each pastoral charge have some type of prayer meeting Glorifying God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit: asking His help as we face Annual Conference with faith, hope, and love; and to give power to live the life of Christ in the world.
Johnny A. Dinas
For Retired and Disabled Ministers
WHEREAS, the religious denomination known as The United Methodist Church has and functions through ministers of the Gospel who are ordained or licensed; and
WHEREAS, the practice of The United Methodist Church is to provide a parsonage or a rental allowance as part of the gross compensation for each of its active ordained or licensed ministers; and
WHEREAS, pensions paid to retired and disabled ordained or licensed ministers of The United Methodist Church are considered as deferred compensation and are paid to said retired and disabled ordained or licensed ministers in consideration of previous active service; and
WHEREAS, the Internal Revenue Service has recognized that the Mississippi Annual Conference is the appropriate organization to designate a housing/rental allowance for retired and disabled ordained or licensed ministers who are members of this conference;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:
1. An amount equal to 100 percent of the pension payments received during the year of 2009 be and is hereby designated as a rental/housing allowance for each retired and disabled ordained or licensed minister of The United Methodist Church who is or was a member of the Mississippi Conference at the time of his or her retirement;
2. This rental/housing allowance shall apply to each retired and disabled ordained or licensed minister who has been granted the retired relation or placed on disability leave by the Mississippi Conference and whose name and relationship to the conference is recorded in the Journal of the Mississippi Conference and in other appropriate records maintained by the conference;
3. The pension payment to which this rental/housing allowance applies shall be the pension payment resulting from all service of such retired and disabled ordained or licensed minister from all employment by any local church, annual conference, or institution of The United Methodist Church, or of any former denomination that is now a part of The United Methodist Church, or from any other employer who employed the minister to perform services related to the ministry and who elected to make contributions to the pension funds of The United Methodist Church for such retired minister’s pension.
G. E. Jones, Chair, Board of Pensions
David Stotts, CPA, Conference Benefits Officer
Byrd Hillman, Liaison Officer
Funds from Sale of Closed, Abandoned or Discontinued Local Churches In the Mississippi Annual Conference
Whereas, the Mississippi Annual Conference has resolved to start a minimum of three new churches per year for this quadrennial;
Whereas, one of the most effective means to evangelize is through the planting of new churches;
Whereas, the Mississippi Annual Conference has started four new churches since the 2007 annual conference session:
The following policy is recommended to the members of the Mississippi Annual Conference for concurrence:
That the proceeds from the sale of land and facilities of any closed, abandoned or discontinued local church shall be used for congregational development purposes to help establish new churches. The monies will be deposited into the annual conference for the purpose of new church development.
This policy is to be effective for any church which votes to close after January 1, 2009, or which is closed or discontinued by vote of the Annual Conference after January 1, 2009.
The rationale for this policy is to assure that resources of closed, abandoned or discontinued local churches are reinvested in the annual conference in order to assist in their continuing legacy by the establishment of new churches.
Submitted by The Cabinet and the Members of the New Church Development Committee
Response to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) On Raids and Detention
WHEREAS Jesus called his disciples and followers to “strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” and we, as disciples, are called to embody a new order of love and justice; and
WHEREAS raids on undocumented immigrants in the United States represent governmental failure in addressing complex national and international economic and political dynamics, which close legal avenues and force immigrants into the shadows, where they are subject to exploitation and virtual servitude; and
WHEREAS raids, indefinite detention, and deportation tear families apart and create anguish, economic hardship and terror that is contrary to the Kingdom that Jesus describes; and
WHEREAS, in a new 2008 General Conference Resolution, The United Methodist Church affirms that “regardless of legal status or nationality, we are all connected through Christ to one another…The solidarity we share through Christ eliminates the boundaries and barriers which exclude and isolate. Therefore, the sojourners we are called to love are our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers, our sons and daughters; indeed, they are us.” [Welcoming the Migrant to the US]
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Mississippi Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church calls upon the President of the United States, the Congress, and all relevant departments of the federal government to put an immediate stop to these raids and work for a just, humane comprehensive reform of immigration laws.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that until just and humane immigration reform is enacted on a federal level, the Mississippi Conference (1) urges the governor and state legislators within the state of Mississippi to refrain from creating legislation that would cause further disruption of the immigrant population, and (2) calls on state government to encourage state and local police to further build bridges of trust and respect between themselves and immigrant communities by allowing only federal immigration officials to actively enforce federal immigration laws.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mississippi Annual Conference (1) pledges to create a task force to address immigration concerns and develop plans for emergency responses to ICE raids, which might include providing material aid, legal services, childcare, interpretation, and spiritual support, and taking part in vigils and public witness pointing toward justice and humane treatment of immigrants. (Such a task force may include conference representatives from units dealing with global ministries, church and & society, religion and race, and racial/ethnic causes, as well as organizations such as United Methodist Women and United Methodist Men and programs such as Justice for Our Neighbors.); (2) Investigate the locations of ICE detention centers with the conference boundaries and consider how to provide ministries, legal support, and other services that will serve the objectives of Christian hospitality and civil and human rights.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution will be sent within thirty days of the end of this conference to President Bush; Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and Julie Myers, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security for Immigration for Customs Enforcement, as well as all U.S. Representatives and Senators who represent United Methodists within this annual conference.
BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that the Mississippi Annual Conference (1) will engage in study of new General Conference resolutions on migration and immigration and other resources that explore the biblical and theological bases for the church’s positions and responses on these pressing issues; (2) participate in connectional education and training on immigration and collaborate as occasion provides with the United Methodist Task Force on Immigration (an interagency and inter-organizational body mandated by the 2008 General Conference)
FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED that the Mississippi Annual Conference urge all its congregations and their members to pray for the people whose lives are torn apart by ICE raids and detention, and will as appropriate support denominational and ecumenical ministries to assist families affected by raids and detention.
Goyo De la Cruz