LAKESIDE - United Methodists in West Ohio will meet at Lakeside-on-Lake Erie again next year, delegates to this year's annual conference have decided.
Tom Slack, spokesman for the conference, said some members wanted to move the gathering to Columbus for one year to facilitate electronic voting of delegates to the general and jurisdictional conferences, who will be selected at next year's meeting.
Space limitations at Lakeside-on-Lake Erie, he said, make it difficult to lay the cables needed for electronic voting. But, he said, “People didn't want to leave. This means we will have to try to figure out a way to do the voting in the time the conference allows.”
In 1999, West Ohio United Methodists considered moving their annual conference permanently to a site in Dayton with more modern convention facilities, but decided against the proposal after Lakeside agreed to make improvements, including the addition of large video screens, new parking areas, better food service, and upgraded access for disabled visitors.
“Lakeside is a wonderful place for people who go as members and attendees,” Mr. Slack said. “ ... But for the people who organize it's a very difficult thing because a lot of the features you're used to having in a convention center just aren't available.”
In other business at the four-day meeting that ended Sunday, delegates listened to a presentation by the Rev. Fred “Neeake” Shaw, a United Methodist minister and official storyteller of the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band.
Mr. Shaw's appearance begins a year of study and teaching on Native Americans that grew out of a vote last year to have a service of apology to Native Americans.
Rather than have a one-time service, a committee charged with planning it decided instead to organize a year of study that will culminate in a service of reconciliation in 2003.
The 2,500 delegates to last weekend's meeting also collected nearly $327,000 for the Hope for the Children of Africa campaign, a national effort to raise $5 million to help African children.
- JUDY TARJANYI