Bishop Joe Pennel (retired) was the speaker of the evening and offered a powerful message to the Conference membership and guests at the Sunday evening service.
"One thing that really stood out to me from tonight's sermon was when Bishop Pennel said 'A vital congregation is one that practices the means of grace.' That is one of the few times I have heard the term 'vital congregation' defined, and I believe that Bishop Pennel's definition is a good one," said Rev. Brad Smith, clergy.
Joe E. Pennel, Jr., was elected Bishop of The United Methodist Church in 1996 and served as the Episcopal leader of the Virginia Conference from 1996 to 2004.
Prior to his election, he served as pastor at Brentwood (1988-1996) and Belmont (1977-1988) in the Tennessee Conference.
He had previously served at St. Luke, Harris Memorial, and Frayser Heights in the Memphis Conference.
He currently serves as Professor of Pastoral Leadership at Vanderbilt Divinity School.
A reception followed the evening's service of celebration featuring displays created by many of the historical churches throughout the TN Annual Conference, an ice cream social, and a ceremonial cutting of the cake resembling the first meetinghouse by none other than Green Hill himself.
In addition to Bishop Pennel, this 45th Session of the TN Annual Conference featured two more guest speakers: Dr. M. Douglas Meeks, and Rev. Vincent Harris.