By: Christa Meland
The three biggest days of the year for Minnesota United Methodists are fast approaching—and even if you’re not a clergy or lay member officially representing your local church, there are opportunities for you to participate in the 2014 annual conference session, taking place May 28-30 at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud.
Here are three ways that you can get involved:
Renowned speaker and well-known author Adam Hamilton will lead three 90-minute teaching sessions this year—and Minnesota United Methodists are welcome to come to St. Cloud for one or all three. The teaching sessions will address leadership skills, preaching and worship, and intentional outreach and follow-up in the context of increasing congregational vitality. They are practical, illustrated with video, and injected with humor and inspiring stories and illustrations. Hamilton has spoken to more than 20,000 pastors and church leaders at nearly 30 annual conferences.
Sessions are at 7:30-9 p.m. Wednesday, May 28 and 10:30 a.m.-noon and 1:30-3 p.m. Thursday, May 29. Fees for non-member visitors are as follows:
--Wednesday evening session: No fee and no registration necessary (just show up).
--Thursday sessions (one or both—and anything else that day): Fee is $25 and includes lunch.
Can’t make it to St. Cloud? Not to worry. This year, for the first time, many events from annual conference session will be live streamed—meaning that you can watch them on your computer from anywhere that has an Internet connection. Events that will be live streamed include:
--All three of Adam Hamilton’s teaching sessions
--Worship services (including a celebration of life and ministry service Thursday evening)
--Plenary sessions (including Bishop Ough’s episcopal address)
A week or more before annual conference session begins, watch the conference website and e-newsletters for a web address—one you can click on to tune in during annual conference session. (Along with the link, you’ll see a complete list of all annual conference events that will be live streamed, plus the times.) You can also stay up-to-date with conference happenings by checking the Minnesota Conference Facebook and Twitter pages, which will be updated often with news and information.
This year, the Minnesota Conference is engaged in a hands-on mission project that involves packing 1 million meals through Feed My Starving Children. Churches will pack meals throughout 2014, but the goal is to hit the 1 million mark by the end of this year’s annual conference session. At annual conference, there will be a designated meal-packing area where attendees will volunteer in shifts. What better way to embrace the Minnesota Conference’s focus on missional outreach than by coming together at our biggest gathering of the year to serve those in need?
There are six two-hour meal-packing sessions scheduled at the River’s Edge Convention Center on May 27 and 28.
VISITORS: Know that you can come as a visitor to all or part of annual conference session. Although non-members can’t vote, they can participate in worship, listen to the many speakers who will inspire and inform, observe plenary sessions, and connect with brothers and sisters in Christ from around the state. The fee for visitors (which includes meals) is $25 per day, or $75 for all three days.
Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church