Alabama laywoman to give General Conference Laity Address
2/26/2003 News media contact: Linda Green · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn
A head-and-shoulders photo of Gloria Holt is available on the Headshot
Gallery and a General Conference logo is available at
Holt, president of the United Methodist Association of Annual
Conference Lay Leaders, has been chosen to deliver the Laity Address at
the 2004 General Conference.
The selection was announced during the association's Feb. 20-23 annual meeting in Fargo, N.D.
will talk about the state of the laity during the first week of the
General Conference. The Commission on General Conference will set the
conference's agenda at an April 3-5 meeting in Chicago. The
denomination's top legislative body, which gathers every four years,
will meet April 27-May 7, 2004, in Pittsburgh.
Three women and
three men, chosen to represent the denomination's diversity, delivered
the first laity address at the 1980 General Conference. A competition
has been held every four years since then for a layperson to make the
The association invited annual conference lay leaders
from around the world, rather than the laity at large, to submit written
manuscripts, which were judged on their own merit and without the names
of the authors attached.
"I am humbled and honored to have had
my speech chosen ... to be the voice of the laity at the quadrennial
gathering of our denomination," Holt said. "I never imagined that I
would ever have this privilege, and I thank God for inspiring and
gifting me to do so."
Holt is both the North Alabama Conference
lay leader and president of the Southeast Jurisdictional Association of
Annual Conference Lay Leaders. She is a founding member of ClearBranch
United Methodist Church, in Trussville, Ala., one of the denomination's
fastest- growing new churches.
The theme of the 2004 legislative
gathering will be "Water Washed, Spirit Born." The General Conference
logo features the United Methodist cross-and-flame symbol centered in
the globe, with Pittsburgh's three converging rivers - the Allegheny,
the Monongahela and the Ohio - flowing from the foot of the cross.
the association's meeting, it was announced that Sandy Zeigler has been
selected as the new director of designated laity leadership for the
United Methodist Board of Discipleship, effective March 17. She succeeds
Tim Moss, who retired from that position in January 2002 and served as
the board's staff liaison to the association. Zeigler, from Butler, Pa.,
is currently the associate lay leader of the Western Pennsylvania
Each annual conference lay leader is elected
to promote lay ministry and develop lay leadership in partnership with
the bishop and the clergy. The church has 64 annual conferences in the
United States and 53 in Europe, Africa and the Philippines.
with the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, the association seeks
to strengthen the presence, voice and role of the laity in the church
and in the world. The group's primary goal is to assist annual
conference lay leaders in training, supporting and advocating for
district and local church lay leaders.
The 59 meeting
participants decided that the association would continue to aggressively
seek funding for scholarships to enable more central conference lay
leaders to attend annual meetings.
"We consider it critically
important that if the United Methodist Church is to be a global church,
we must find the resources to help central-conference (non-U.S.)
conference lay leaders participate in our meetings," Holt said. The
group is looking to church agencies for guidance and support.
association devoted much of its meeting to preparing legislation for
General Conference that seeks to strengthen the relationship and
ministry of lay leaders with their clergy counterparts.
The lay leaders also:
Made $1,000 seed grants to both the Liberia Annual Conference and the
Northern Philippines Annual Conference for leadership training and
Â· Participated in a leadership training session on laity
and clergy working together and sharing ministry as "One in the Spirit,
All In Ministry," the theme of the annual meeting.
Â· Set April
23-25, 2004, in Pittsburgh, as the date and location of the next meeting
so that annual conference lay leaders from central conferences, who
will be delegates to General Conference, could attend the association's
meeting without additional travel expense.
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