Special to the Advocate
Wanna line dance? Get in shape? Hear inspired preaching? Come to Annual Conference.
Line dancing will be one of the fellowship activities scheduled during the gathering June 8-10 at Jackson Christ United Methodist Church. That activity will take place in the fellowship hall the night of June 9 and is being offered as a time of fellowship to go along with a shorter agenda this year.
The evening of June 8, following worship, the praise band Prayznmor from Byhalia United Methodist Church will lead a time of music in the youth worship area. Coffee and conversation will also be available in the church fellowship hall.
Another new feature in 2008 will be discussion times with some of the speakers. On Monday night, Dr. Lovett Weems and Theon Johnson, guest speakers that day, will have a time of informal discussions in the youth worship area.
Also, Amazing Pace, the conference's wellness group, will have a luncheon to celebrate the successes of the plan. Amazing Pace representatives will be located upstairs in the mezzanine with Methodist Health Systems for information and screening.
"Please prayerfully prepare yourself if you are a member of Annual Conference, and if you are not please lift the conference in your prayers," said the Rev. Steve Casteel, director of Connectional Ministries.
"Arise, Shine, Magnify" is the theme for Annual Conference. The scriptural focus will be on II Corinthians 4:6-8: "…But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward will preach at the Sunday night ordination service with Bishop William W. Hutchinson of the Louisiana Annual Conference leading the opening communion service Monday and the opening worship Tuesday.
Johnson (right), a seminary student from Canton, will lead the Young Peoples' worship service on Monday night. The retirement and memorial services will be on Monday. The consecration and sending forth services will both be on Tuesday.
Weems, a Mississippi native now the executive director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., will speak June 9 on his report "10 Provocative Questions," which was presented late last year to the Council of Bishops. The report offered an analysis of the denomination's State of the Church report.
This year the conference offering will go to the World AIDS Initiative with a goal of $1 per member or $187,000. The conference will also seek to pack 100,000 meals for Stop Hunger now, an international relief agency, and to raise $25,000 to help fund the project. Forty volunteers an hour will be needed to meet the goal, and every local church is invited to creatively find ways to participate in these mission activities. That event will take place in the gym.
All registration on June 8 will be in the gym, but will move to the financial suite on Tuesday. The executive sessions for lay and clergy will be in the sanctuary. The lay session begins at 2:30 p.m., followed by the clergy at 4 p.m.
The central action items will include nominations for the new quadrennium, exploration of a new order for the conference, considering direct billing for clergy pension and insurance, insurance issues in both health and UM PACT, a proposed 2009 budget of $20,664,572 and a variety of other issues.
Question? Call the Connectional Ministries office at 601-354-0515 ext. 14.