After a morning full of balloting and a rousing episcopal address by Bishop Mike Lowry of the Central Texas Conference, the lay leaders representing each conference in the South Central Jurisdiction took the stage.
Leah Taylor, the current Jurisdictional Lay Leader, spoke of how the Conference lay leader role has changed and grown over the past 12 years. Lay Leaders sit on the cabinet, have membership on the nominating committee, work to further the ministry of each district and so much more.
"Lay Leaders are called to travel the length and breadth of their conference with their Bishop to build relationships,” Taylor said.
Lay Leaders from around the connection shared lay ministry success stories – instances that laity went out of their way to revive a church or to help teens see themselves how God sees them. Taylor also highlighted the 2014 Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders meeting, which was held in Kansas City. Lay leaders from around the world joined together for three days of worship, fellowship and learning. Missouri Bishop Robert Schnase shared from his book Seven Levers: Missional Strategies for Conferences.
But after serving this quadrennium as Jurisdictional Lay Leader, Taylor is turning over the reins to Missouri’s own Brian Hammons.
Hammons served eight years as Conference Lay Leader and will now transition into the position at the Jurisdictional level. After taking the podium, he invited the new conference lay leaders to stand and reminded the body that the laity witness is the future of the United Methodist Church.
“I’m excited because I believe God’s spirit is very much alive connecting our past with a hope-filled future,” Hammons said.