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AC 2020 vote is in

Vote totals read by Bishop Bard

Members of the 2020 Virtual Michigan Annual Conference did a new thing …  a mail-in ballot. Those were counted  August 28 and the vote totals were announced by Bishop David Bard on Labor Day.

Senior Content Editor

September 7, 2020 | LANSING – Bishop David Bard released the results of the ballot on resolutions acted upon by the members of the 2020 Virtual Michigan Annual Conference on July 27. In a video presentation, the bishop read item by item, announcing vote totals for the ten essential resolutions brought by conference boards and committees and seven presented by the Conference Trustees during the Corporate Session. All of the measures on the 2020 ballot passed. 

Legislation summarized

A team of persons gathered on August 28 at the Ministry Center here to open envelopes and tabulate the ballots and count the funds remitted for the Conference Ingathering and 5K. There were 1,275 ballots cast through the US mail.  The ballot counts are attached as a PDF

Secretary Joy Barrett on Vote Count Day
Conference Secretary Joy Barrett was among those at the Ministry Center on August 28 to count the ballots cast at the 2020 Virtual Michigan Annual Conference. ~ photo courtesy Nancy Arnold

Find the details of the resolutions in the Legislative Program Guide. All resolutions passed without amendment, except R23 as noted below.

  • Resolutions 1-4 from Conference Board of Pensions and Health Benefits involved the payment of claims, housing rental allowance, the Comprehensive Benefit Funding Plan, and Past Service Rate
  • Resolutions 9-11 added representatives to the Conference Leadership Council, Trustees, and Council on Finance and Administration
  • Resolution 23 Guidelines for Equitable Compensation. Amended line 10: the words “Roads to Vibrancy or Local Church Assessment” replaced “Vital Church Initiative or a Paragraph 23 Review.”
  • 2021 Conference Budget The $12,617,521 total budget is a 14.7% decrease from 2020.
  • Nominations Report Click here for a pdf copy.
  • Corporate Session Motion Members approved the closing of four congregations – Owosso: Burton, Ubly, Muskegon: Unity, and Mulliken UMCs.
  • Corporate Session Motion Members approved the withdrawal of three congregations – Shabbona, East Boardman, and North Adams UMCs.

If you have any questions regarding these results, please contact your district office or the conference secretary.  

Fundraising results

As announced last week, the total dollars given to the Conference Offering attested to the generous spirit of churches and individuals across the state. Bishop Bard said in his video presentation, “As you mailed in ballots, we received funds anywhere from $3 to small checks to larger amounts. Whatever you gave, thank you!” He noted the Annual Conference Offerings total around $45,000 in previous years. “This year, we raised $62,335.60. Thank you very much for your generosity!”

The ingathering, as announced, was split 45% for the Bishop Judith Craig Children’s Village in Liberia, 45% for Haitian Assets for Peace International, and 10% for Michigan Disaster Response and Recovery. There were a few dollars specifically designated for each project, so totals are Liberia $27,146; Haiti $28,381; Disaster Recovery $6,257.

Bishop Bard added, “We had a Virtual 5K this year. Last year’s 5K raised $1,840. This year we raised $10,455, and that money is going to be used for Michigan Disaster Response. Previous 5K events were held the Wednesday before the conference on the grounds of the Grand Traverse Resort. COVID-19 forced the tradition to take a new form. Individuals and congregations participated in the 4th annual 5K from wherever they chose to run, walk, or bike between July 26-28, 2020.

Volunteers taking vote count at Ministry Center
The year 2020 has seen many firsts, including mail-in balloting for the 2020 Virtual Annual Conference. Envelopes were opened and ballots counted on August 28, 2020, at the Area Ministry Center in Lansing. ~ photo courtesy Nancy Arnold

As fall begins

Bishop Bard ended his Labor Day message with words of encouragement. “One last thing I want to say to you. We are beginning the fall season, and it is a fall season unlike any we have ever experienced before.” Many Michigan congregations have not experienced in-person gatherings since mid-March. The bishop acknowledged that pandemic reality. “Where there would have been great celebrations as people were returning from quieter summers at churches to the start of church school and Bible studies and Sunday School, all of those kinds of things. We know that ministry is different in this time.”

He expressed his gratitude to pastors and laity for their ministry in the face of challenges of COVID-19.. “I want to say, ‘Thank you!’ Go into this fall with that same enthusiasm, even knowing that the ways you gather will be different. I am grateful for the ways you continue to be in ministry during this pandemic, the ways you are taking seriously social distancing, and the wearing of face coverings to keep each other safe.”

Bishop Bard concluded with words of blessing. “God is with us during this time. Ministry for Jesus Christ will continue. Thank you for the ways you are participating in that. God’s grace, God’s peace, God’s power, be with you all.”

Recordings of the sessions, including many of the individual presentations, are posted online at We hope you will share these presentations and vote counts with your congregation. A news story – Virtual Michigan AC gets the job done — is another aid for your reporting.