Banquet with worship and episcopal address: There is room for everyone at the table as we gather for a family-style meal, worship together, listen to Bishop Ough's episcopal address, and receive communion.
Open-space conversations: Attendees will be invited to discuss key social justice issues and reflect on how Minnesota United Methodists can be a good gift to the world through open-space, small-group conversations. Attendees will chose from a variety of questions (perhaps relating to immigration, climate change, and living in unity, among many other possibilities) ones they most want to discuss and then gather in facilitated small groups to share their ideas with each other and write them down so that they can be compiled for all to see. Ideas that emerge from these discussions will help us discern the ways in which we’re called to work together to fulfill our mission. The hope is that these conversations will be an interactive and multi-generational experience—and that they will take the place of lengthy legislative discussions around social justice issues.
Celebration in the park: We'll gather for a celebration in a local park, where musical group Boiling Point will perform, concessions and games will be available, and people will be invited to pack health kits for the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Additionally, all Minnesota United Methodist youth who have been confirmed within the past year will be invited to this celebration to be blessed.
Clergy Session: All clergy will gather for worship, to celebrate those entering into ordained/licensed ministry and retirement, and to handle administration required by the Discipline.
Laity Session: This session celebrates and explores opportunities for non-clergy leadership in our congregations. Worship, music, presentation, and discussion are all parts of this gathering.
Guest speaker Sara Miles: Miles is director of ministry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco and serves as founder and director of The Food Pantry—which operates out of the church, and aims to increase access to food for hungry people and empower them to help each other. In her book Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion, Miles—raised as an atheist—talks about how she lived a secular life as a restaurant cook and writer. Then early one morning, for no earthly reason, she wandered into a church. “I was certainly not interested in becoming a Christian,” she wrote. But she ate a piece of bread, took a sip of wine, and found herself radically transformed. Miles will lead two 90-minute teaching sessions on the second day of conference.
Reach • Renew • Rejoice ministry fair: Attendees will be invited to a ministry fair featuring new church starts and churches that have participated in a transformational process (the Healthy Church Initiative, Missional Journey, or the Missional Church Consultation Initiative). Participating faith communities will share their successful outreach efforts through a trade show-type display, and attendees will be able to stop by, get ideas, celebrate their ministries, and ask questions.
Celebration of Life in Ministry: Often cited as the most impactful part of the conference, this worship service celebrates those who have died over the past year, those who are moving into retirement, and those who are taking major steps in their ministries through ordination and commissioning, and invites those feeling a calling to be blessed. A massed choir that includes people from around the state will sing an anthem. (See "additional opportunities" web page for details.) Free drop-in child care is available during this service.
Worship with Love Offering and conference preacher Mike Dyrdal: Prayer, music and a message will frame our day. Gifts to the Love Offering will be gathered at this time. (Health kits for the Love Offering will be gathered throughout the conference.)
Legislation and action items: There are items, issues, and actions to be discussed and voted on as an organization. This is the time we engage in discourse and debate.
Closing worship: We wrap up our gathering and go forth in joy as we set about doing all the exciting work of unleashing God's gifts.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church