Pre-Conference Workshops

Several learning opportunities are available the day prior to the formal conference. These workshops are open to all, not just those attending conference. Register for them through the annual conference session registration process, or if you're not attending the rest of conference, you can register here through a faster and simpler form. While there is no "cover" charge for Tuesday, there are nominal fees for the sessions.

Tuesday (all day)

Early Response Basic Training and Recertification Course: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., $20

This is the standard training offered several times a year, this time with the added convenience of its close proximity to annual conference. Early response teams (ERTs) fill a specific need in the days soon after a natural disaster. They remove debris, clean out flood-damaged homes, and otherwise help to prevent further property damage while providing a caring Christian presence. ERT volunteers are different from general volunteers because they are trained, have security background checks, and are entirely self-sufficient. Since 1997, ERT trained volunteers have worked at 18 Minnesota disasters and responded six times to disasters in other states. The course, taught by UMCOR certified instructors, provides the basic skills for you to become a member of the team. Click here for further information and registration

Tuesday afternoon

Creating Space for Faith Across Generations: 1-4 p.m., $10

There’s an old saying, “God doesn’t have grandchildren,” meaning it’s up to each generation to pass along the faith. What does it mean to live the Jesus way in contemporary culture? Do the kids in your community know that they are loved beyond words–by God, by you, by your church? Together we explore what it means to learn and grow together – faith building across the generations. Attendees will learn together some best practices in children, youth, and family ministry. Led by Tracy Ottenstroer, director of children's ministry at Cross Winds UMC in Maple Grove and Rev. Cindy Yanchury, minister of faith formation at Advent UMC in Eagan.

Creating Spiritual Breakthroughs: Learning from MCCI Pastors:
 1-4 p.m., $10

Spiritually dynamic congregations create environments where people experience the power of the Holy Spirit in fresh ways each and every Sunday. Spiritually dynamic congregations see everything they do as discipleship: helping people grow into the fruit of the Spirit (peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, love, joy, and self-control). Spiritually dynamic congregations ground all their ministry in prayer and listening to the heart of God. Churches that have been engaged in the Missional Church Consultation Initiative (MCCI) have been learning these practices and have stories to tell about the exciting things occurring because of this attention creating spiritual breakthroughs. Hear their stories and learn practical ways to bring this home to your congregation. Presenters: Rev. Dan Wetterstrom, The Grove UMC in Woodbury; Rev. Jeanine Alexander, First UMC (the Coppertop) in Duluth; Rev. Michelle Hargrave, Centenary UMC in Mankato; and Rev. Carrie Binnie, Community UMC in Monticello.

Generosity: A Pathway to Deepening Faith:
 1-4 p.m., $10   

Why is generosity important? Our expressions of generosity emerge out of our own personal story. We can choose pathways of giving that lead to a joyful and deeper connection with God, our faith, and our world. How do we understand our story and choose our unique pathways to a deepening faith around generosity? How do we together, as a church and community of faith, embrace the spiritual practice of giving that will guide and shape our faith and change the culture of our congregations? Thad Austin, a United Methodist pastor from the Tennessee Annual Conference, will help pastors and leaders to not only explore their own story and pathways but to discover ways to change systems, practices, and teachings in order to shift church culture—from giving as an obligation to generosity as a practice of deepening faith and love for our church AND world.

Introducing Minnesota's Racial Reconciling Movement: 1-4 p.m., $10

Minnesota's Commission on Religion and Race (CORR) is creating a covenant program of commitment to racial equity in our churches and communities. This program will be previewed as CORR seeks partner churches to further develop this covenant. This workshop will focus on the new program and the resources CORR has for congregations, and give participants an opportunity to provide input regarding methods or practices their churches have already employed.

#MeToo & #ChurchToo:
 1-4 p.m., $10

Are the concerns of the #MeToo movement a reality in your experience, in your workplace, and in your church? Do you have stories you would like to share? Do you know of the resources available? The Minnesota Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW) is hosting a time of sharing stories and experiences, as well as viewing and discussing the film #HerTruth, about women in ministry breaking their silence. Participants will also review United Methodist Church policies on sexual harassment and misconduct.

Tuesday evening

Doing the Work of Anti-Racism: 6-9 p.m., $10

Most everyone agrees that racism is an issue in our communities. What to do about it is the hard part.  The group will view the documentary "I Am Not Your Negro" and engage in a discussion led by Rev. Dee McIntosh, the lead pastor of Lighthouse Church in North Minneapolis who is deeply involved in the Black Lives Matter movement. She will challenge our beliefs about race, justice, and our role as a church.

Hosting respectful conversations on divisive topics in your local church: 
6-9 p.m., $10

Facilitator Jen Mein is a member of Minnetonka UMC and works as an engagement consultant at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. After tips and wisdom are shared with the large group, attendees will be invited to break into small groups to participate in a respectful conversation with a neutral table moderator.

The Role of the Church in Addressing Global Health Threats: 
6-9 p.m., $10

The scope of global health concerns is such that no one organization or country can tackle it alone. Nevertheless, the United States has been the leader in global health aid, contributing more to control global health threats than any other country. This investment not only helps those countries in need but also protects Americans. Significant changes are being proposed in several U.S. agencies tasked with global health security and aid. How might these changes shape the future of global health and the United States’ long valued role in global health cooperation and advancements? Come discuss how the church can best respond during this period of uncertainty. Presenter Dr. Olusimbo Ige is the executive director of the Global Health Unit of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. She provides technical leadership for seven global health program areas, including oversight of the grant making process to partners around the world; leadership for 13 partner health offices, and management support for the global network of 300+ United Methodist-related mission hospitals and clinics around the world. She grew up in Ibadan, Nigeria, and holds medical credentials in in a range of fields, including global and community health, from institutions in Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States. Motivated in mission by a belief that all Christians are called to be a light in the midst of the darkness, she is sustained by the conviction that God is leading toward a better world.

Volunteers in Mission (VIM) Team Leader Training/Orientation for Puerto Rico Recovery Trips : 7-9 p.m., FREE

When we answer the call to lead a team into a mission field, we are taking on a task that is so much more than handling logistics and making decisions. This training is designed to teach participants how to help equip and empower every member of their team. It includes information on how to gather a team, select a mission, plan your mission journey, and work together so everyone’s gifts and abilities are utilized to the fullest. It also includes a theological framework behind the VIM movement, as well as nuts and bolts like budgeting, safe sanctuary, insurance, and personal and team checklists. This is a required orientation for all those participating in Puerto Rico hurricane recovery missions.

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058