Mission opportunities take on world, local hunger


By the Advocate

For an investment of just an hour or two, those attending Annual Conference can help relieve hunger around the world. Two mission opportunities will be available: A Society of St. Andrew potato drop “with a twist” and packaging food for Stop Hunger Now.

The potato drop is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. June 13. About 200 volunteers will be needed.

Last year 400 volunteers packaged more than 100,000 Operation Sharehouse meals in just two days, and this year Stop Hunger Now hopes to duplicate the effort. Some 400 volunteers will be needed to make this possible. The tentative working hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 12-13 one hour shifts.

The United States is the largest and most efficient food producer in the world. Yet, each year more than 35.5 million Americans face a constant struggle against hunger, including more than 12.6 million children. As hard to believe as it seems there are hungry people in every state and every city in America. Despite abundance and a charitable spirit, not every American is assured of being adequately fed. Instead, some children rely on a free school lunch as their only meal of the day.

There is enough food in the world to feed everyone 4.3 pounds of food every day. However, nearly 850 million people, including 1 out of 7 people in the developing world suffers from hunger. More people die each year from hunger-related causes than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. More than 25,000 people die of hunger-related causes every day. Malnutrition is associated with more than half of all childhood deaths.

Anyone is welcome to take part in either or both activities. For information, contact Jorge Navarrete, conference missions coordinator, at 1-866-647-7486, 601-354-0515 ext. 20 or jorge@mississippi-umc.org..

Arise! Shine! Run!
 The 6th Annual Mississippi Conference Arise! Shine! 5K Run-Walk will be held at 6:30 a.m. June 13. The race will start in front of the Jackson Convention Complex on East Pascagoula Street. Pre-registered Amazing Pacers (prior to June 1) will receive a guest ticket to June 12 Amazing Pace luncheon and 10,000 LifeBux for participating. Awards will be given to overall male and female, overall masters male and female and age groups. You may register and get information at www.msracetiming.com.

Dinner plans?
Groups planning special meals during Annual Conference should make reservations soon. The Jackson Convention Complex has plenty of room to accommodate groups and events of all sizes. All food is provided by the complex’s catering staff.

Leading the Food and Beverage team for Annual Conference are the Rev. Elbrist Mason of Brandon and conference staff members the Rev. Fitzgerald Lovett and Brenda McGloster.

To schedule a meal:

• Contact the meal planning team by Mason at 666-647-7486 (the conference office) or 601-813-5597 or e-mail masontime321@yahoo.com to receive a meal package and other information.
• Request the date, time and type of meal you desire. Return the information to the Mississippi Conference, Attn: Food and Beverage Team, P. O. 1147, Jackson, MS 39215-1147.
• The Convention Complex’s staff will review the meal request, including the number of participants and the cost. The Convention Complex will inform you and the conference team of the set up and cost. The team will help in selecting menus and room lay-out if desired.
The team requests that June 11 be reserved for seminary lunches and dinners. June 12-14 are open to any group beginning with breakfast (before 8 a.m.) through dinner.
In addition, any group seeking a private celebration or event may also reserve space by following the same procedure.
Childcare will be provided for all Annual Conference members who are attending Trans4mation, June 11 and-or the business sessions of the 2009 Mississippi Annual Conference June 12-14. Childcare for preschool aged children (6 months – 5-years old) will also be offered at all three evening worship services on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.  
All childcare for children ages 6 months through the completion of fourth grade will be held at the Jackson Convention Complex. Plans include fun events, outings and activities for elementary children. 
Pre-registration is required. Pre-registration ensures that enough childcare workers will be on duty to meet the legally required child-worker ratio and helps scheduling workers. The deadline to register for childcare is May 18. Registration after May 18 will carry an additional $25 fee. This fee will be in addition to the registration and childcare fees. A $40 fee will be assessed to each family that does not register. This late fee will be in addition to the registration and childcare fees.
Costs for childcare:
• $35 registration fee per family
• $25 per day (business sessions and lunch included)
• $15 per evening worship session (only for those under 5-years old)

The Annual Conference childcare registration form is available on-line at www.mississippi-umc.org/childcare2009.
Per Diem
The per diem payment for the appointed clergy of the local church whether retired or active and for the lay members to annual conference of the local churches is the responsibility of each local church. 
The 2008 Annual Conference adopted the policy for conference paid per diem payments for the 2009 session.  In the 2008 Journal Volume 1 beginning on page 230 is the listing of the groups of members that will receive their per diem from the Annual Conference. The reason for paid per diem for lay people is that they are equalizing members for the Annual Conference. Retired clergy and clergy on disability are paid because their membership is in the Annual Conference. The conference Board of Pensions pays the per diem of the surviving spouses. If you are eligible, you will be contacted in May. The form is to be turned in at the preconference briefing and checks will be picked up at the Annual Conference site. No forms should be mailed in and no checks will be mailed out. 
The amounts set for per diem is $5 per meal and $50 per night that a member is in attendance. Per diem begins with the opening session and ends at the closing session. The projected per diem will be $30 for meals and $100 for rooms. Travel is not paid.