Conference to teach advocacy techniques


People of faith seeking to become more effective in advocating on key issues facing legislative bodies are invited to attend the Mississippi Ecumenical Advocacy Conference.

The event’s theme is “What About the Children?” It will offer instruction in four tracks:

•  Public Education – Dr. Mike Ward, former state superintendent of education in North Carolina, will lead the discussion. Ward is currently on the faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi. He is the spouse of Bishop Hope Morgan Ward.

•  General Advocacy – Kira Johnson, leader of the SMART Institute at Jackson State, will be the leader.

•  Theology of Advocacy – The Rev. Rebecca Youngblood, director of the Center for Ministry at Millsaps College, is the discussion leader.

•  National Policy Advocacy – Susie Johnson, executive secretary for public policy at the Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, will be the leader.

Co-sponsored by the Mississippi Conference and the United Methodist Women, the event is scheduled for Jan. 22-24 at the Mississippi e-Center at Jackson State University located on Raymond Road.

Plenary speakers will include Dr. Hank Bounds, state superintendent of education, and Lois Dauway, the director of national ministries for the Women’s Division of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Among those slated to lead sessions are United Methodists Rev. Joy Carr, Angie Williams, H.C. Redmond, Rev. Fitzgerald Lovett and Dr. Cathy Grace.

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward and Bishop Duncan Gray III of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi will lead worship Tuesday evening.

Cost of the event is $75. Continuing education units are available. Social workers may earn 1.73 SWUs, while CEUs are also available for clergy who take part.

Registration opens at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, with the opening plenary beginning at 1:30 p.m. The event will conclude Thursday at noon at the State Capitol, where participants can attend the Congregations for Children news conference in the rotunda.