16 Sep Mid-Atlantic Conference Moves to Disband
The Mid-Atlantic Conference Council, during its September 10 meeting, passed a recommendation that the Mid-Atlantic Conference “officially disband operations as of December 31, 2005, unless otherwise needed.” This recommendation will be voted on the Mid-Year Conference Session on November 12. That meeting will be held at the Prince Street UB church in Shippensburg, Pa.
Anthony Blair, in an email, explained, “The December 31 date was chosen because on January 1, we will move into will move into the new national conference structure, including the paying of assessments (3.5% of income) directly to the national office. This motion gives us the option of continuing some functions later that than date if needed. A transition team will likely be appointed to help us move from status quo to the new structure. If we vote in the affirmative, the Mid-Year Council Session will include a worship experience to celebrate what God has done among the conference for the past 216 years.”
The Council would like to continue a group health insurance policy for active ministers after the disbanding of the conference. It authorized “the Commission of Administration and Finance to continue looking for any and all possibilities for a vehicle for an insurance group plan, and that funds be made available for necessary legal advice….The group health insurance plan for retired ministers, spouses, and widows is more difficult. The conference supplements the premiums on this plan by $90,000 annually from conference funds. If the conference no longer exists, those funds will no longer exist and a number of our older retirees in particular cannot afford to pay for our current plan all by themselves. Our relationship with and commitment to our retirees means that we cannot simply abandon them to their own devices in this situation….
“During the Mid-Year Council session the Commission on Administration and Finance would like to meet and discuss options with all of the participants in the retiree plan who are able to attend. Those who are not able to attend will be met with individually at their homes as necessary. Again, the intention is treat our retirees with grace and respect through this process, present multiple options to them, and assist them as necessary in identifying an option that best suits their financial and medical parameters.”
The Conference Council didn’t take formal action on anything relating to clusters, but did spend considerable time addressing the transition to healthy church clusters. Both the national office and the conference Commission on Church Growth and Renewal will be assisting churches to create and/or find clusters this Fall.
The Council did not have an opportunity to address the future of Rhodes Grove Camp, but recognizes that the relationship with the camp will need to be re-defined if the Mid-Atlantic Conference no longer exists. Options include transferring ownership to the national conference, creating a membership organization to support the camp, folding it into the Mid-Atlantic Foundation, or establishing a covenant relationship that preserves its UB identity without the legal liabilities of outright ownership.