Annual Conference Survey Responses Shape Plans for Next Year


 By Jasmine Haynes, Web and Social Media Specialist

One month after the 2013 Mississippi Annual Conference, the committee that planned the event recently put their heads together again to discuss what participants identified as what 
Shelton speaks at meeting
Planning committee looks back on AC 2013.
went well and what went wrong.  Those in attendance were asked to evaluate all aspects of the conference and the analysis of feedback on the overall event revealed that 99 percent of responses were positive.
Many surveys declared the conference was high-spirited and focused on worship and that 'The POWER of We' theme and teachings added to an atmosphere that inspired conference-wide unity.
Some responses recommended better signage throughout the Jackson Convention Complex (JCC) and more information to help familiarize first-time delegates with the conference environment.   Chairperson of the Mississippi Annual Conference planning 
Dora Washington
Dr. Dora Washington discusses annual conference feedback.
committee, Dr. Dora Washington shared that because of her experiences at The United Methodist Church General Conference she can sympathize with new annual conference attendees and asked the annual conference committee to seriously consider their perspective.
"Orientation prepares you for the expectations of the conference and the things that are unfamiliar to persons who are attending for the first time," said Washington.  "It can be somewhat confusing, frustrating and hard to follow if you are not aware of all the different areas that are being reported and actions that are being taken."
Evaluations of what participants witnessed were not the only topics of discussion for the debriefing.  The group also examined what improvements could be made to the vital, but behind the scenes portion of annual conference.  Several people commented on how to aid committee communication, production, time management and decrease costs, but Washington suggested achieving one goal may benefits all those areas.
"We want to make certain that the entire scope of the conference is established no later than November," explained Washington.
According to Washington, establishing dates and goals earlier would give district offices and other conference entities the time and opportunity to clearly and concisely distribute necessary information to the rest of the conference so that all those involved have more than enough time to meet firm conference deadlines.
Over 2,000 Mississippi United Methodists flooded the JCC and were assisted by conference staff and approximately 80 volunteers during the first week of June.  Planning on how to implement improvements and positive feedback will tentatively begin this fall for next year's event.  Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr. left the group with a thought that summarized the whole purpose of the meeting by stating that needing to seek progression does not mean that anyone did anything wrong but everyone should continually look for ways to improve.