Georgia lay leader to address at General Conference
Feb. 26, 2007
NOTE: Photograph available at http://umns.umc.org.
A UMNS Report By Alice M. Smith*
A Georgia woman has been tapped to deliver the laity address at the 2008 United Methodist General Conference.
Lyn Powell, lay leader of the denomination's North Georgia Conference since 2004 and the first woman to hold that position, will speak when the church's top lawmaking body meets April 23-May 2 in Fort Worth, Texas.
General Conference meets every four years, and the laity address, along with the Episcopal address delivered on behalf of United Methodist bishops, are highlights of meeting, which draws up to 1,000 delegates from around the world to discuss and handle matters for the denomination.
"This is a humbling honor to represent not only the annual conference lay leaders of the denomination but all of the laity, which is almost 11 million people," Powell said. "It gives a person pause to realize that."
Retired in 2003 as vice president of information technology for Associated Credit Union, Powell has served extensively in the church, beginning with her local church, Snellville United Methodist Church, where she has held numerous leadership positions and taught Disciple Bible study and the Christian Believer course.
As the conference lay leader, she serves on the extended cabinet of Bishop Lindsey Davis and the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry. She is a member of the conference's Vision Forum, vice chair of the Simpsonwood board of directors and serves on the board of Aldersgate Homes.
Powell served as a delegate to the 2004 General Conference and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference and is on the board of directors of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship and of the executive committee of the World Methodist Council. In addition, she is president of the Southeastern Jurisdiction Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders.
The theme of her laity address will be "Disciples Transforming the World," in which Powell will emphasize the importance of clergy and laity sharing in ministry.
"As I have worked with laity and clergy in our conference and also across the denomination, several questions have begun to form in my mind," she said. "What is the nature of the calling of the laity, particularly as it relates to the calling of the clergy? How do the two callings intersect and intertwine? How can we live out our calling as laity? How does our profile differ today from our profile in the first 150 years of Methodism in this country?
"My speech centers on these questions," she said.
Powell was chosen for the speaking task by a five-member committee of annual conference lay leaders, chosen by the Board of Discipleship, which reviewed manuscripts from speaker candidates
Her selection was announced during the Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders meeting Feb. 15-18 in Minneapolis. During that gathering, Powell presented her 25-minute address to the 48 conference lay leaders present and received feedback.
Powell's pastor, the Rev. Richard Hunter, praised Powell's selection, noting that "she's good about listening to the heart of the church."
"Lyn has two major passions that are contagious," he said. "First, reaching people that the church normally does not reach ... and, second, to connect those in the church to a ministry based on their spiritual gifts and their own personal calling."
Conference lay leaders have pledged to meet Powell backstage immediately before her 2008 address to lift up both her and her speech in prayer. A prayer team has been designated to pray for Powell in the meantime.
"That gives me great comfort," she said, "to know there will be prayer covering (the address) from this point forward, and shortly before the address is given."
*Smith is editor of the Wesleyan Christian Advocate, a publication of the North and South Georgia conferences.
News media contact: Marta Aldrich, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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