Members of the Tennessee Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church on Monday elected James R. Allen and Rev. Harriet J. Bryan as their top lay and clergy delegates to the top denominational legislative assembly. Allen is the treasurer and statistician for the Tennessee Conference, a regional UMC body that is composed of the congregations of Middle Tennessee. Bryan is pastor of Salem UMC in Clarksville.
This year, regional bodies of the UMC such as the Tennessee Conference are electing their delegates to the denomination’s top legislative body known as General Conference. There will be nearly 1,000 delegates to next year’s General Conference to be held in Tampa, Florida.
Allen is a member of Blakemore UMC in Nashville and was formerly general counsel with the United Methodist General Council on Finance and Administration, the top legal and financial agency for the entire denomination. According to his official bio, Allen currently chairs the council on finance and administration for the denomination’s entire Southeastern Jurisdiction. Bryan previously served as pastor in Erin, Tenn., and Raleigh, N.C.
The Tennessee Conference will have eight delegates to General Conference, half will be clergy and half will be laity. The clergy members of the Tennessee Conference will elect the clergy delegates, while the lay members of the conference will elect the lay delegates. A majority of votes in their respective categories is needed for election. Allen was elected on the first lay ballot, while Bryan was elected on the third clergy ballot. Additional ballots will be taken until the entire delegation is full.
In other business, the Tennessee Conference presented the Denman Evangelism Award to Todd Cox (youth), Adam Jones (laity), and Rev. Randall Brown (clergy). The Social Holiness Award was presented to Beverly Dycus (laity) and Rev. Paul Gardner (clergy). The journal for this year will be dedicated to Pat Sailors, Pulaski District administrative assistant, and Rev. Fred Harper of Slater’s Chapel UMC, Goodlettsville.
The conference granted permission to withdraw funds from the Camp Endowment and set a new lower limit of $1 million below which funds could not be withdrawn. Additional resolutions were approved with little debate.