The 12th quadrennial General Conference of North American Wesleyans meeting in Lexington, Kentucky, opened on Saturday, June 2, with praise to God as the first order of business.

Board of General Superintendents Chair, Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, called the meeting to order, using a gavel made from wood of the dogwood tree from which Wesleyan pioneer Micajah McPherson was hung exactly 150 years ago for preaching against the evils of slavery. (McPherson miraculously survived the hanging to continue in ministry for another 30 years.) Dr. Lyon reminded the 362 delegates, church officials, and district and church leaders of the responsibility Wesleyans have to impact their culture.

Following the roll call by General Secretary Dr. Ronald D. Kelly, General Superintendents Dr. Jerry G. Pence and Dr. Jo Anne Lyon presented the BGS Pastoral Letter in a multimedia presentation. The theme, “Voices,” was amplified in the voices of Miracles, Wisdom, Hope, and Prayer—voices of an expanding Wesleyan church. The letter told some of the stories behind the outstanding statistics from over the past four years:

North America:

95,759 new Christ-followers

32,533 baptisms

142,429 members

20,446 students in Wesleyan higher education

208,973 average worship attendance (up 7.1% this quadrennium)


Countries: 93

New Christ-followers: 255,291

Baptisms: 89,944

Local churches: 5,669

Members: 367,777

Worshippers: 437,310

The delegates interrupted the reports with applause and shouts of praise several times. The personal interest of ministers and churches associated with the statistics touched the hearts of audience members.

A closing prayer of thanksgiving and renewed commitment to spreading hope and holiness was offered by General Superintendent Pence, who is pastor-elect of Brooksville Wesleyan Church in Brooksville, Florida.