The semi-annual General Board meeting of The Wesleyan Church was held on May 6-7. One recurring theme running through the meeting was “generosity.” Members remarked about the spirit of teamwork and progress that prevailed.
After returning home, District Superintendent Dan LeRoy wrote a note to General Supt. Jo Anne Lyon and the Executive Directors, stating; “I came away from this meeting energized and encouraged as well as challenged that we need to get on the ball in NC East or we are going to be eating everybody’s dust. I feel like The Wesleyan Church is hitting on all cylinders, the leadership team Dr. Lyon has assembled has found its stride, and I am honored to be on the journey with all of you.”
Following were some of the items covered in the meeting:
- Reflecting a spirit of generosity, The Wesleyan Church has given $682,313 in the past two years to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy, a flood in Mozambique, a tornado in Oklahoma, and a typhoon in the Philippines primarily through the Wesleyan Emergency Relief Fund.
- Received a report on the 2014 Easter attendance, which added to about 365,000 persons in the North American Wesleyan churches. Reported conversions were 6,086, with 617 baptisms. These were increases over previous years in all categories.
- Exec. Dir. Wayne A. MacBeth, Communication and Administration (including Wesleyan Publishing House), reported that Wesleyan Life magazine received the “Award of Excellence” from the Evangelical Press Association for being the most improved evangelical magazine of 2013. It also received “top-five” honors in reporting, design, and digital publication. WPH released several new books related to discipleship, devotionals, and small group Bible study resources.
- Exec. Dir. Dennis Jackson, Global Partners, reported that The Wesleyan Church is now present in twenty nations in Africa, and only four of those with North American missionaries. The Church worldwide now has a presence in 97 countries. The JESUS Film Partnership has surpassed all projected goals with 40 Wesleyan teams, all led by national workers, and 101 new churches planted and 85 additional preaching points, with thousands of Christ followers.
- Exec. Dir. Jim Dunn, Church Multiplication and Discipleship, reported that forty-seven churches were planted this year in North America; sixty-eight venues/satellites/multi-sites were begun this year; and over 800 Wesleyan churches participated in the Community Bible Experience during Lent.
- Exec. Dir. Russ Gunsalus, Education and Clergy Development, reported that Wesley Seminary at IWU has surpassed the 400 mark in enrollment and graduated the first Hispanic M.Div. class this spring. Already operating under Higher Learning Commission accreditation, it anticipates accreditation in June by the Association of Theological Schools. More than 1,100 Wesleyan clergy participated in the National Clergy Wellness Study with Notre Dame.
- Re-election of Mr. Kevin A. Batman as General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer for a four-year term, expiring in 2018.
- Approval of the merger of Mountain Plains District and Texas-Louisiana District, pending approval of the respective district conferences voting this summer. The new district, which will be called Mountain Plains, will be comprised of 54 churches in the states of Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana.
- Approved the names of twenty persons to serve as North American delegates to the International Conference of The Wesleyan Church in January 2015.
- Elected persons to serve on the boards of trustees of Houghton College, Indiana Wesleyan University, Kingwood University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, and Southern Wesleyan University.
- Approved “Sexual Harassment Policy” guidelines as a resource for developing a policy at headquarters and as a resource for districts and local churches to use in developing their own policies. Also received as information “Facilities Use Guidelines” for districts and churches to use in developing their own policies.