From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Alabama laywoman to give General Conference Laity Address

From "NewsDesk" <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Thu, 27 Feb 2003 08:02:24 -0600

Feb. 26, 2003 News media contact: Linda Green7(615)742-54707Nashville, Tenn. 

NOTE: A head-and-shoulders photo of Gloria Holt and a General Conference logo
are available.

By United Methodist News Service

Gloria Holt, president of the United Methodist Association of Annual
Conference Lay Leaders, has been chosen to deliver the Laity Address at the
2004 General Conference in May.

The selection was announced during the association's Feb. 20-23 annual
meeting in Fargo, N.D.
Holt will talk about the state of the laity during the first week of the
General Conference. The Commission on General Conference will set the
conference's agenda at an April 3-5 meeting in Chicago. The denomination's
top legislative body, which gathers every four years, will meet April 27-May
7, 2004, in Pittsburgh.  

Three women and three men, chosen to represent the denomination's diversity,
delivered the first laity address at the 1980 General Conference. A
competition has been held every four years since then for a layperson to make
the speech.

The association invited annual conference lay leaders from around the world,
rather than the laity at large, to submit written manuscripts, which were
judged on their own merit and without the names of the authors attached.

"I am humbled and honored to have had my speech chosen ... to be the voice of
the laity at the quadrennial gathering of our denomination," Holt said. "I
never imagined that I would ever have this privilege, and I thank God for
inspiring and gifting me to do so."

Holt is both the North Alabama Conference lay leader and president of the
Southeast Jurisdictional Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders. She is
a founding member of ClearBranch United Methodist Church, in Trussville,
Ala., one of the denomination's fastest- growing new churches.

The theme of the 2004 legislative gathering will be "Water Washed, Spirit
Born." The General Conference logo features the United Methodist
cross-and-flame symbol centered in the globe, with Pittsburgh's three
converging rivers - the Allegheny, the Monongahela and the Ohio - flowing
from the foot of the cross. 

During the association's meeting, it was announced that Sandy Zeigler has
been selected as the new director of designated laity leadership for the
United Methodist Board of Discipleship, effective March 17. She succeeds Tim
Moss, who retired from that position in January 2002 and served as the
board's staff liaison to the association. Zeigler, from Butler, Pa., is
currently the associate lay leader of the Western Pennsylvania Annual

Each annual conference lay leader is elected to promote lay ministry and
develop lay leadership in partnership with the bishop and the clergy. The
church has 64 annual conferences in the United States and 53 in Europe,
Africa and the Philippines.   

Affiliated with the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, the association
seeks to strengthen the presence, voice and role of the laity in the church
and in the world. The group's primary goal is to assist annual conference lay
leaders in training, supporting and advocating for district and local church
lay leaders.

The 59 meeting participants decided that the association would continue to
aggressively seek funding for scholarships to enable more central conference
lay leaders to attend annual meetings. 
"We consider it critically important that if the United Methodist Church is
to be a global church, we must find the resources to help central-conference
(non-U.S.) conference lay leaders participate in our meetings," Holt said.
The group is looking to church agencies for guidance and support.

The association devoted much of its meeting to preparing legislation for
General Conference that seeks to strengthen the relationship and ministry of
lay leaders with their clergy counterparts. 

The lay leaders also:
7	Made $1,000 seed grants to both the Liberia Annual Conference and the
Northern Philippines Annual Conference for leadership training and
7	Participated in a leadership training session on laity and clergy
working together and sharing ministry as "One in the Spirit, All In
Ministry," the theme of the annual meeting.
7	Set April 23-25, 2004, in Pittsburgh, as the date and location of the
next meeting so that annual conference lay leaders from central conferences,
who will be delegates to General Conference, could attend the association's
meeting without additional travel expense.
# # #

United Methodist News Service
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