Election of Conference Lay Leader to take place in 2021

September 29, 2020

During the 2020 Laity Session webinar on Sept. 26, moderator Rich Hughen, who serves as the Many Waters District co-lay leader, made an important announcement regarding the position of Conference Lay Leader. 
According to Discipline and the New England Conference rules, some committee members and positions are to be
Rene Wilbur during the 2020 Laity Session on Zoom
elected for the next quadrennium only after the General Conference has taken place. 
These are the Board of Ordained Ministry, the Episcopacy Committee, the Conference Council on Finance and Administration and the Conference Lay Leader. 
Since the 2020 General Conference has been postponed (it is scheduled for Aug. 29-Sept. 7, 2021 in Minneapolis), these committees will remain as they are through 2021. 
Conference Lay Leader Rene Wilbur, who has served in the role since 2012, had announced her plans to step down prior to the postponement of the General Conference, and has made the decision not to continue for another year.
According to the Conference rules, the Conference Lay Leader is elected by only the lay members of Annual Conference and nominations from the floor are allowed. 
The 2020 Annual Conference session will be virtual session (Oct. 17; beginning at 8:30 a.m.) The processes for voting and for being recognized on the floor during this virtual session of Annual Conference made it difficult to conduct this process in accordance with our rules. 
“To handle this in the most efficient manner and to be in compliance with our rules, Rene has agreed to stay on until after Annual Conference, when she will resign,” Hughen said.
Wilbur will continue to serve until Oct. 18, 2020, the day after the Annual Conference session, when will she submit her resignation to the bishop. 
Filling the vacancy falls to the District Lay Leaders, who will name an interim lay leader by majority vote. The interim lay leader will serve until the next in-person Annual Conference session, which is scheduled for June 2021, when an election will be held. 
Nominations can be made by submitting a bio to the conference secretary prior to the April 1, 2021 deadline or be made from the floor of Annual Conference. More information about how to submit a bio will be shared closer to that time.
Wilbur served as Conference Lay Leader for eight years; she followed Oscar Harrell. 
Saturday’s Laity Session included a thank you to Wilbur (click the link to watch the video).
Wall hanging for Wilbur from the Board of Laity Click image to enlarge

The Board of Laity presented Wilbur with a wall hanging (pictured right) and donations will be made to a ministry of Wilbur’s choice from the board and from the Southern New England Emmaus Chapter and Crossroads Emmaus of New England. Wilbur also received a special recognition pin from the United Methodist Women.
During Saturday’s session, Wilbur said, “I am so grateful for all of your expressions of love, and I hope that you know that I am sending them all right back to you … all the laity of New England Annual Conference. I have had a wonderful Board of Laity … I have been blessed with people who were dedicated, who wanted to do the work, who were faithful to the work. I am so blessed. It’s not been me; it’s been all of you who made this work for all of us in new England.”
Find a recording of the Laity Session on our YouTube channel.