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Countdown to Annual Conference

Countdown to Annual Conference

A comprehensive look at the annual three-day event.

Conference News
All Annual Conference activities will be in the Buena Vista Palace Hotel, 1900 Buena Vista Dr., Orlando, Florida 32830. Here’s some information that will help orient you for the event.

Getting there and orientation

For a map to the hotel click here. The Florida Conference website for the event is

Click here for links to the Annual Conference brochure, orientation videos, the Workbook and the basic conference agenda.

The hashtag to participate in the Annual Conference 2016 Twitter feed is #flumc16.

Most Annual Conference activities take place in the hotel’s Great Hall. Conference center maps are available online for your convenience. Access via mobile or tablet, save a copy to your phone or tablet or print one before arrival.

Check-in Information

Clergy and lay members can pick up their badges at the registration/check-in located at the Great Hall registration booth beginning Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.  It is located on the convention level of the hotel. The registration/check-in schedule is posted in the Workbook, as well as online. Retired clergy from the Florida Conference will be able to have badges printed at the check-in booth.

Third annual 5k run

The run is scheduled for Friday, June 17, 2016, at 6:30 a.m. at Windermere Town Hall.
The 5k is running and walking for its third year. This is an opportunity to unite our clergy and lay members of the Annual Conference in an initiative to promote faith and fitness in a 3.1 mile fun run/walk in beautiful, historic downtown Windermere Florida. All of the proceeds from the 5k will go towards our Annual Conference's support of the Young Adults in Missional Movement (YAMM). Join this race towards greater health and support Young Adults in Mission.

Packet pick-up and race information
Pre-race packet pick-op - Tuesday, June 14, from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. and Wednesday, June 15, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Race Day - Friday, June 17, Windermere Town Hall, 520 Main St. Windermere, Florida  34786
5:30 a.m. packet pick-up & registration
6:15 a.m. late registration ends
6:30 a.m. 5k start
Click here to register

Prayer Garden

The Prayer Garden, located in the Sapphire Room, will open Wednesday, June 15, 2016, at 8 a.m. with communion. On subsequent days, the Prayer Garden will open at 7:30, and communion will be available.

Volunteers needed

Volunteers are needed Tuesday through Saturday, June 14–18, 2016, at the hotel venue in the areas of:
  • Greeters and welcoming hospitality
  • Registration welcome
  • Guest services
  • Ushers at daytime plenary and evening worship sessions
Please be aware that the majority of the above volunteer positions require standing for the shift time. Click here to sign-up for specific dates, times and positions to join the Annual Conference radical hospitality team. Call Heidi Leab 863-688-5563 ext. 192 with any questions.

Sessions to watch

On Wednesday, June 15, pre-conference Leadership Gatherings will be held in the hotel. On Wednesday evening the Florida United Methodist Foundation’s 50th anniversary celebration will be held at Walt Disney World Swan Resort. Click here for more information.

At 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 16, the clergy session will meet in the Great Hall North, and the laity session will meet in the Great Hall Center, East and West.  At 1:30 p.m., the opening plenary session with worship and communion will take place in the Empire Ballroom. Bishop Carter will celebrate it with African Methodist Episcopal Bishop Adam J. Richardson. Also on Thursday afternoon, Lucille O’Neal, mother of basketball great Shaquille O’Neal, an author and a local community leader in her own right, will offer her testimony.

After a dinner break Rev. Bill Hybels will be the special speaker at 7 p.m. Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill. He is known as an expert in equipping and training Christian leaders to transform individuals and their communities through the local church.

Following Rev. Hybels, district missional gatherings will take place (rooms to be announced).

Friday’s plenary session opens with special speaker Bishop Janice Riggle Huie (Texas Conference Bishop since 2004).

At 10:30 there will be a Service of Remembrance in the Empire Room. Rev. David Dodge, assistant to the bishop, will give the memorial sermon at 11:30. The afternoon session opens with Jeff James of the Disney Leadership Institute as a special speaker. James is vice president and general manager of Disney Institute. He oversees the external business and professional development arm of The Walt Disney Company.

Anniversary celebrations and a retirement service will follow at 4 p.m. At 7:30, there will be a special evening of music and worship featuring Jeremy Hearn of First UMC Lakeland.

The service of Licensing, Commissioning and Ordination and Fixing of Appointments is scheduled for Saturday, and the Conference will conclude at 12 noon on Saturday.

The 2016 Bishop’s offering

The Bishop’s offering will be collected on Friday evening, and it will support the clergy and laity of our annual conference with resources for leadership development in three areas:
1. Grants for innovative forms of “church beyond the walls” through the Fresh Expressions network.
2. Inspiring and equipping our congregations to see, identify with and reach the neighborhoods around them in evangelistic, prophetic, apostolic and missional ways.
3. Training a core group of spiritual guides and mentors to encourage and sustain this work that has already begun.


For a video summary of our finance and administration items click here. The budget details are also in the Workbook.


About 60 exhibitors are expected, and the expo will be located at the Event Center/Exhibits. Hours will be:

Tuesday, June 14, 4-7 p.m.
Wednesday, June 15, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
Thursday, June 16, 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
Friday, June 17, 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Youth schedule for annual conference
Youth are encouraged to participate and experience Annual Conference. On Wednesday, June 15, 2016, at 3 p.m., youth orientation will be held at Buena Vista Palace (please check in to the hotel prior to orientation). This time will include dinner, orientation to the site and registering for conference together.


St. Luke’s UMC is pleased to offer a childcare program for infants, preschool, elementary and middle school students on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., Saturday from 7:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and an extended day option on Thursday and Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for preschool children and older. More information is available here.

Please click here to register. Once your registration is received, you will receive an email confirmation in return. The registration deadline has been extended to May 31, and limited spaces are available.

Specially priced Disney tickets

The Florida AC 2016 has a custom Disney Microsite that enables attendees, as well as those friends and family members that are traveling with them, to individually purchase specially priced Disney meeting and convention tickets. For your reference, the custom Disney Ticket Microsite URL is

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