By: Doreen Gosmire and Christa Meland
Jan Russell, the volunteer coordinator for the General Conference 2020 Dakotas-Minnesota Area Host Committee, is on a mission to recruit 1,100 to 1,200 volunteers to show extraordinary hospitality to United Methodists across the globe as they gather May 5-15 for The United Methodist Church’s quadrennial gathering. (Learn more about volunteering here.)
“The world is coming to the Upper Midwest,” said Russell. “We will be hosting 6,000 United Methodists. We want to show them bold north hospitality.”
Currently, 600 volunteers have registered. Bishop Bruce R. Ough, resident bishop for the Dakotas-Minnesota Area, encourages United Methodists to take advantage of this unique opportunity.
“It is our privilege and honor to host visitors from around the world, and to introduce them to this place we call home,” he said.
Wondering how you might participate in General Conference 2020? Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about volunteering:
Volunteering at General Conference provides a tremendous opportunity to see the United Methodist connection up-close and welcome siblings in Christ from around the world. This experience will allow you to meet and get to know people from across the globe, and to see firsthand that the body of Christ we are part of is so much bigger than our individual congregations and even our conference.
Do I need to volunteer for all 10 days of the conference?
No. Shifts are three hours long, and you can choose to do one shift on one particular day or multiple shifts over several days. Each volunteer can opt to do up to two shifts in a single day.
Is there a uniform or dress code?
Yes. Each volunteer should come to their shift wearing a plain, light-colored top that covers your shoulders, along with dark pants or a dark skirt that extends below the knees. Upon arriving at their particular volunteer site, every volunteer will be issued a purple vest to help guests identify you during your shift. You will return the vest when your shift is over. Volunteers may not wear or display buttons, stickers, or any campaign material while volunteering.
Will childcare be available?
Childcare is available April 29, April 30, May 5, May 6, May 14, and May 15. Contact Jan Russell (612-230-6150) to reserve a space.
Can I volunteer for the General Conference Host Team and other groups during the event?
Yes. When your volunteer shift is complete, you will return your purple vest. You are then free to volunteer for other organizations that will be at the conference.
Do I have to drive all the way downtown and park?
No. Volunteers are welcome and encouraged to park at one of several park-and-ride lots around the Twin Cities. A circulator van will pick you up from these locations and take you to your volunteer site.
Will meals be provided?
All expenses related to travel, lodging, and meals are the responsibility of the volunteer. Given the large number of volunteers needed to provide hospitality for the Hospitality Team, we are unable to provide compensation for these expenses.
I don’t live in the Twin Cities. Are there hotel options?
We have negotiated rates of $99 a night at the following hotels:
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church