Annual Conference 2019: Details and Information

3/29/2019

2019 Annual Conference Session

From the Bishop

Dear Lay and Clergy Members of the Annual Conference, Conference and Agency Leaders,

We introduced “Alive Together in the World” one year ago at the conclusion of Annual Conference 2018. When we meet again this June we will have much to celebrate as our churches have been connecting with their communities in creative ways. We will be noting the many ways we are Alive Together in the World.

A special thanks to those in Columbus who are doing all they can to prepare for a great experience. Our business sessions will be held at The Columbus Georgia Convention & Trade Center, a splendid venue on the banks of the Chattahoochee River. The memorial service and the ordination/commissioning service will be held in the beautiful sanctuary of St. Luke UMC.

We will have two special guests with us for our Annual Conference session - Bishop Richard Looney and Dr. Gil Rendle. Bishop Looney will preach during the opening service on Sunday evening. He is deeply appreciated in South Georgia for his leadership as our bishop for twelve years (1988 - 2000). Dr. Gil Rendle, whose research focuses on how to have an effective witness for Christ in a changing culture, will lead our teaching sessions. I encourage you to read his latest book, “Quietly Courageous: Leading the Church in a Changing World.”

We will also devote time to reflect upon the outcome of the special session of General Conference held in February. Some of the decisions made at General Conference concerning pensions and other matters will require a vote of the delegates at annual conference. These matters will be explained in detail during the pre-conference information sessions to be held in each district during the month of May. I will also be reflecting upon General Conference and will share specific steps we can take to be Alive Together in Christ over the coming conference year.

See you in Columbus in June!
R. Lawson Bryan

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From the Conference Secretary

Dear Friends,

As you can see, lots of planning has already gone into this year’s Annual Conference session. Below are some additional details you will find helpful. More information can always be found on the conference website, www.sgaumc.org/annualconference.

Many of you received a book called “Patches of Prayer” at our conference gathering on March 9. This prayer book was created to serve as a guide to prayer in the weeks between now and our Annual Conference session. The guide, divided into three, four-week sessions, includes a guiding word, a scripture reading, an invitation to prayer, space for journaling, and a closing prayer. I hope you are using this weekly resource to enhance your prayer time as we move towards annual conference. For those who were not at our gathering, you can download the book here.

We will hold pre-conference briefings in each district in May. At these briefings, you will receive information about the items related to the recent General Conference that will come before our conference for a vote. You will also receive information on our process for voting for clergy and lay delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conferences in 2020. Other information that will be needed to participate in the business of annual conference will be provided. Attending one of these briefings will be very helpful as you represent your church at annual conference. Each district will hold a briefing. If you aren’t able to attend the briefing in your district, please consider attending a briefing in another district so that you can be fully informed prior to arriving in Columbus. Dates for the briefings will be announced soon.

Please note that the Book of Recommendations and Reports will be available for clergy and lay members by May 1. This annual publication will be available for purchase through lulu.com as a professionally bound book or may be downloaded as a PDF file for free from the conference website. An email notification will be sent to all clergy and lay members when the publication is ready.

Also, if there has been a change in the lay member(s) representing your charge, please log in to your church dashboard, www.sgaumc.org/dashboard, and make the change in the "My Church's Leaders" section. Please also share the change with your district office.

Thank you.

Dr. Nita Crump, Conference Secretary

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Meeting Details

Venue
The 2019 Annual Conference Session will take place at The Columbus Georgia Convention & Trade Center (801 Front Avenue Columbus, GA 31901). All Sunday night activities, as well as all business sessions, will be held at the Convention Center. The Memorial Service and Ordination/Commissioning Service will be held at St. Luke UMC (1104 2nd Ave).

Schedule  
The 2019 Annual Conference Session will begin with an Opening Worship Service on Sunday evening, June 2, at 6:30 pm. Conference will conclude with the Sending Forth Service on Wednesday, June 5. A more detailed schedule will be posted on the conference website in the coming weeks.

Sunday, June 2, 2019
2:30 PM    Registration Opens
6:30 PM    Opening Worship Service, Convention Center
7:45 PM    Laity Orientation & Clergy Session, Convention Center
8:45 PM    Receptions hosted by Laity/Clergy for Candidates for GC2020 Delegation

Monday, June 3, 2019
 8:30 AM    Business Session
11:00 AM    Golden Anniversary/Retiree Recognition
12:00 PM    Lunch
 1:00 PM    Gathering of Family & Friends of Deceased Servants, St. Luke UMC
 2:00 PM    Memorial Service, St. Luke UMC
 3:30 PM    Business Session
 5:45 PM    Methodist Home Barbecue, St. Luke UMC
 7:30 PM    Ordination/Commissioning Service, St. Luke UMC
 8:45 PM    Ordination/Commissioning Reception, St. Luke UMC

Tuesday, June 4, 2019
 8:30 AM    Business Session (Clergy Voting for General Conference Delegates)
12:00 PM   Lunch
 2:00 PM    Business Session (Laity Voting for General Conference Delegates)
 5:45 PM    Dinner Break

Wednesday, June 5, 2019
 8:30 AM    Business Session
11:45 AM    Fixing the Appointments/Sending Forth
12:45 PM    Adjournment

Banquets
If you have a group that would like to plan a banquet or special event, contact Lisa Marie Ming at lming@stlukeum.com or 706-256-1017. Click here for a list of special events already planned.

Displays
Display spaces are available to groups and agencies related to the South Georgia Conference. Other non-UM agencies and vendors also have the opportunity to set up displays. Please see the display policy for those prices and conditions. The display policy, as well as the registration form to reserve booth space, can be found at www.sgaumc.org/displays. Reservations for the space must be made by the May 1 deadline prior to the conference.

Registration
The registration fee for all pastors and lay members to Annual Conference is $20. Retired clergy not serving a church are exempt from this fee. You will pay when you register at Annual Conference.    

Expenses / Per diem  
Clergy and lay delegates who represent a local church shall have their expenses (including registration) paid by the local church (this includes retired clergy who are serving a church). Lay delegates who represent an organization and extension ministers shall have their expenses paid by the organization they represent. Retired clergy not under appointment and clergy on disability shall receive a per diem of $65 per day for each day attended. Lay members who do not represent a local church or conference organization shall receive a per diem on the same basis. Retired local pastors who are not serving a church do not retain their clergy status according to the Book of Discipline, and so do not qualify for a per diem.

Change in Lay Member
If there has been a change in the lay member representing your local church/charge, please make sure to pass this information onto the correct person. To let us know of the change, please log in to your church dashboard, www.sgaumc.org/dashboard, and make the change in the "My Church's Leaders" section. Please share the change with your district office as well.

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Columbus Logistics

Hotels
Valley Hospitality in Columbus has secured over 600 rooms for our event. All of the hotels on the list will be providing shuttle service to the Convention & Trade Center. Rooms must be booked by May 1 to receive the discounted price. Valley Hospitality has created a website just for South Georgia Conference United Methodists to make booking your hotel easy and streamlined. For those who prefer to make reservations over the phone, they have provided the phone number for each hotel on the website. Click here to view the list of hotels.

Childcare
Childcare for infants through 5th-grade students will be provided by St. Luke UMC (1104 2nd Ave), located just blocks from the Convention Center, during this year’s Annual Conference Session. Pre-registration for all childcare is REQUIRED. Deadline to register is Friday, April 12, 2019, so we know how to plan for crafts, materials, snacks, and lunch as well as to ensure our staffing is Safe Sanctuaries compliant. For all the details and to register, visit www.sgaumc.org/childcare or contact Hope Sims at hsims@stlukeum.com.

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Elections Process

This year we will elect those who will serve as clergy and lay members of our conference's delegation to General and Jurisdictional Conferences. These individuals are servants who are elected to represent our annual conference in meetings and gatherings beyond the boundaries of the conference. Those elected will represent us for the coming four years (2020-2024). If you are interested in serving as a member of the delegation, you now have the opportunity to declare your interest.

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Communications & Questions  

Receiving the Communications Needed for the 2019 Annual Conference Session
As a delegate to Annual Conference, you will receive several important communications leading up to Annual Conference. The purpose of these communications is to inform you of the matters you need to know about the ministry of the church, its organization, and any decisions you will be asked to make during the conference session.

Most of the business items for the conference session are contained in the Book of Recommendations and Reports (BOR). Inside the BOR you'll find a complete conference agenda, driving and parking information, helpful annual conference information, detailed reports from conference ministries, pension and benefits recommendations, conference budgets, and much more. One of the purposes of the BOR is to allow you to read the recommendations and reports before you come to conference.

In May, the BOR will be made available in two ways. It will be made available for download as a PDF file at no cost, in its entirety or in sections, on our conference website (www.sgaumc.org/annualconference), and disseminated through other electronic means. You will also be able to purchase a professionally bound printed copy for around $5.00 plus shipping through lulu.com. Ordering information will be provided when the BOR is ready. The Book of Recommendations will not be mailed nor will printed copies be available at the Annual Conference session. If you prefer a printed copy versus a digital download, you must print it at church, at home, or purchase one through lulu.com.

Please continue to visit www.sgaumc.org/annualconference often as we approach annual conference. Some reports that do not make the BOR publication deadline will only be available on the website. These reports will be important to have during the Annual Conference session.

Prior to arriving in Columbus, please download onto your digital device or print all the materials you want to have with you during the Annual Conference session.

Questions
For questions regarding the business of Annual Conference, please contact Dr. Nita Crump at nitac@sgaumc.com. For questions regarding local arrangements, please contact Maggie Roberson at maggie@stlukeum.com or 706-327-4343. For general inquiries, contact Kelly Roberson at kelly@sgaumc.com.