Countdown to Annual Conference


Countdown to Conference
2008 Mississippi Annual Conference

June 8-10
Christ United Methodist Church, Jackson
Arise! Shine! Magnify! 

Annual Conference is just around the corner. Here's some useful information to keep in mind while making plans to attend.

Three district pre-conference briefings remain. Clergy and lay members will get a preview of Annual Conference, pre-register, receive their workbooks and have an opportunity to ask questions at the briefings. All members are encouraged to attend. Those unable to attend can pick up materials at their district office.

• Tupelo District -- 7 p.m. Thursday, Tupelo First UMC
• New Albany District -- 7 p.m. May 27, Booneville First UMC
• Senatobia District -- 7 p.m. May 29, Batesville First UMC

Read or download the pre-conference workbook or get other information about Annual Conference on the conference Web site.

Special sessions
The times of special sessions for lay and clergy members will be staggered this year so that both groups can meet in the Christ UMC sanctuary. On June 8 the lay session will begin at 2:30 p.m. followed by the clergy session at 4.

Registration at Annual Conference will open at 2 p.m. on June 8 in the Christ UMC gym. Members who register at the pre-conference briefings can stop by their respective district table to check in and receive a name badge at Annual Conference. Anyone who did not register at a briefing can register on-site. Please complete your registration card before attempting to register. Lay members are encouraged to wait until after the lay session to register.

Mission offering
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward has designated the 2008 Annual Conference Mission Offering to support the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund. A bulletin insert is available on the conference Web site. (See Bishop Ward's Gleaning column on page 8 for more information.)

10 Provocative Questions
Dr. Lovett Weems, esteemed theologian and professor who authored 10 Provocative Questions about the future of The United Methodist Church, will address the Annual Conference at 11:30 a.m. on June 9. Weems is a Mississippi native and graduate of Millsaps College. He will also lead breakout sessions during the lunch recess on Monday and Tuesday. For a full schedule of workshop options, see Section I of the pre-conference workbook.

Get your shine on
Don't forget to wear your "Arise! Shine!" lapel pin. Replacements are available.

Childcare will be provided from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for conference members' children who are at least 6 months old through those who have completed fifth grade. Evening care during worship will also be offered for children under age 7. On Sunday evening only, childcare will be available for family members or friends attending the ordination service for a small fee. Registration forms are required and are due May 30. Forms are available on the conference Web site.

Worship is an important part of Annual Conference. All services will be held in the Christ UMC sanctuary. Come and bring a friend!

• Service of Ordination with Bishop Ward preaching, 6:30 p.m. Sunday
• Morning Worship with Holy Communion and Bishop William Hutchinson preaching, 8:30 a.m. Monday
• Memorial Service, 2 p.m. Monday
• Young People's Service with conference mission offering, 7:30 p.m. Monday
• Morning Worship and Bible study with Bishop Hutchinson leading, 8:30 a.m. Tues-day
• Service of Commissioning, 11 a.m. Tuesday

Stop Hunger Now
Annual Conference attendees of all ages can help package meals for Stop Hunger Now. About 400 volunteers working in one-hour shifts are needed to reach the goal of packing 100,000 meals. The meal packages are sent around the world to people suffering from severe hunger. Please contact Jorge Navarette at to sign up for a shift. Hours are 3-5 p.m. on Sunday and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday.

Mission fair
Please visit the displays in the Mission Fair June 9-10 to learn more about United Methodist-related ministries and institutions. Get great information for mission and ministry, and have your mission passport stamped by 12 of the more than 40 participants to receive a gift.

A list of hotels located near Christ UMC is available.

Per diem
Members who may receive per diem from the conference are listed on page 291 of the 2007 Journal, Volume 1. Members eligible for per diem should keep in mind:

• As in 2007, per diem will be paid at Annual Conference. No payments will be issued prior to conference.
• Eligible members will receive a signed per diem authorization form from one of the following: district superintendent (district officers, equalizing members and seminary students), conference liaison officer (retirees and surviving spouses) or director of Connectional Ministries (conference officers).
• Per diem recipients should turn in completed forms to their district superintendent at the pre-conference briefing. Do not mail forms to the conference office; they will be returned.
• Checks may be picked up June 10. Per diem recipients who must leave conference early may make arrangements with the treasurer's office to get their checks early.
• No checks will be mailed.