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February 14, 2002



Confirmation Convocation offers new experience

By Tita Parham

LAKELAND — For more than two decades the Florida Conference has been offering churches an opportunity to enhance their confirmation program by providing the annual Bishop’s Confirmation Convocation event.

After surveying clergy in response to declining attendance over the past three years, the event’s design team has developed a brand new event that continues to offer the benefits of previous events. This year’s convocation is March 29 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Palm Beach Gardens.

Survey participants said the event’s main benefit is enhancing the local church’s confirmation program and bringing kids from other churches together so they can become part of the bigger church, according to Carol Sue Hutchinson, director of the Conference Council on Ministries’ Discipleship Ministry office.

“Within those two things, we had people say we could do anything,” Hutchinson said.

With that feedback the design team changed the event’s format. The event begins with worship geared toward middle school youth and led by Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker, followed by small group discussions, lunch and fellowship. The day ends with worship and communion led by Whitaker. Adults bringing youth will be asked to serve as small group leaders.

The location is also new. Based on survey feedback and general responses to conference event locations, the design team decided to move the event out of Central Florida and to a different location each year so it makes its way around the conference, enabling more people to attend.

The cost of the event is $8 per student. Registration begins at 9 a.m.; the program is 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. For more information contact Hutchinson at 800-282-8011, extension 140, or chutchinson@flumc.org

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