United Methodists from across the state will gather June 5-8 in Lakeland for the 177th Florida Annual Conference at Florida Southern College’s Branscomb Auditorium.
The theme of this year’s meeting is “On Mission Together.” Registration opens at 1:30 p.m. on June 4 in the Honeyman Pavilion on the Florida Southern campus.
Voting year for 2020 delegates
Conference members will be choosing from over 100 clergy and lay nominees for 44 slots for delegates to the 2020 General and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conferences. Elections begin Wednesday afternoon.
Information about the nominees is available on the Annual Conference 2019 web page. Click here to see the list and information about the clergy candidates and here for laity candidate profiles. The lists are also published in the Annual Conference workbook.
Conference members will elect eight clergy and eight laity delegates to General Conference, the policy-making body of The United Methodist Church that will meet May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis.
The same number will be elected to represent Florida at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in July 2020. An additional six clergy and six lay members will be elected to serve as alternate delegates.
Following are information and links that will help orient you to the event.
Getting there and orientation
The Florida Conference website for the event is https://www.flumc.org/annual-conference-2019. There are links on this site for accessing the Annual Conference workbook, brochure, orientation videos and the basic conference agenda. For a map of the Florida Southern campus, click here.
The event hashtag is #flumc19.
Clergy and lay members can pick up their badges in the Honeyman Pavillion at Florida Southern beginning Tuesday, June 4, at 1:30 p.m. The complete registration/check-in schedule is posted in the Workbook, as well as online. Retired clergy members may pick up their badges at the check-in booth.
Check out the Expo
The Expo always is a highlight of Annual Conference. Booths will be open daily throughout the Conference from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., except on Saturday, June 8, when booths will close at 10 a.m.
The Bishop’s Offering will be divided evenly between a restart of the FAMU Wesley Foundation (Impact) in Tallahassee and planting a new church in Lowell Women’s Prison in Reddick.
The Florida Conference is joining a trend by placing a United Methodist church inside a state prison; a pastor will be appointed. Conference officials chose Lowell because it houses the most women (3,054) in a correctional institution in the United States.
Part of our vision for IMPACT@FAMU Wesley Foundation is to create a “home away from home” for our students, an office/pastoral care area for the Executive Director and a place to worship, gather, learn, play, and pray for the FAMU campus at large.Wednesday, June 5
Wednesday will get off to a running start with a 5k run/walk at 6:30 a.m. at the Hollis Wellness Center.
|Bishop Will Willimon|
This run/walk event is in its sixth year. The race will begin across Lake Hollingsworth from the Nina B. Hollis Wellness Center. It will finish across Lake Hollingsworth Drive from Branscomb Auditorium.
The clergy session will follow in the Jenkins Field House and laity orientation will be held in Branscomb
Auditorium at 10 a.m. These will be preceded by a nominees’ meet and greet in those locations.The plenary session will begin at 1:30 p.m.
That evening there will be the Service of Word and Table, with Bishop William H. Willimon of Duke Divinity School preaching. He served eight years as Bishop of the North Alabama Conference, where he led 157,000 members and 792 pastors.
Thursday, June 6
|Rev. Dr. Cynthia Weems|
The agenda includes guest speaker Rev. Dr. Cynthia D. Weems, Superintendent of the South East District of the Florida Conference and currently Dean of the Cabinet.
Business items Thursday include reports from Connectional Ministries, the Office of Missional Engagement, the Vital Church Initiative, Fresh Expressions and the Latino Ministry. The Florida United Methodist Foundation’s annual meeting and the retirement service and luncheon are on the schedule, as well.
Spirit-Led Innovation Night
After the plenary session concludes at 5:30 p.m., there are several events to explore innovative movements happening in our connection. Events include dinner church, hands-on church, designing innovation, “Pints and Parables,” yoga and tattoo parlor church. Click here to register.
Art After Hours
The Florida United Methodist Foundation is hosting a reception, “Art After Hours,” Thursday evening at the Polk Museum of Art from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at 800 East Palmetto Street. It will include hors d’oeuvres, art and fellowship.
Friday, June 7
|Dr. Dana Robert|
Dr. Dana Robert is the guest speaker Friday morning. She is a leading scholar of mission studies and world Christianity. Author of many books, her latest is “Faithful Friendships: Embracing Diversity in Christian Community (2019).” At the Boston University School of Theology, she directs the Center for Global Christianity and Mission.
|Rev. Dr. Gary Spencer|
Rev. Dr. Gary A. Spencer will speak at the Service of Remembrance in the morning. He was appointed District Superintendent to the Atlantic Central District in 2011. Gary is a third-generation Floridian who felt the call to ministry at an early age and has devoted his life to bringing people into the church and helping them grow in their faith.
The day also includes church discontinuances, the Board of Pension and Health Benefits report, the budget and the reports from United Methodist Women and United Methodist Men.
Celebration of New Forms of Ministry
On Friday evening, the Conference will gather for a Celebration of Spirit-Led Innovation. This unique worship experience includes multiple musical groups from around the state and highlights some of the ministries within the Conference that are serving on the leading edge of our mission.
Saturday, June 8
The Conference concludes with a morning plenary session that includes the reports of the Committee on the Episcopacy and Trustees, followed by the Fixing of Appointments and the Service of Licensing, Commissioning and Ordination.