Main Menu

Countdown to Annual Conference

Countdown to Annual Conference

A comprehensive look at the annual three-day event

All plenary sessions for the 175th session of the Florida Annual Conference will be held at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel, 1900 Buena Vista Dr., Orlando, Florida 32830. Pre-conference workshops are scheduled Wednesday, June 7, at St. Luke’s UMC in Orlando. The annual conference, themed “Revive Us, Again,” is June 8-10. Following are information and links that will help orient you to the event.

Getting there and orientation

Opening in prayer and laying on of hands are shown at a laity session during the 2016 Annual Conference. This is the second consecutive year the annual meeting is being held at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel.

The Florida Conference website for the event is There are links on this site for accessing the Annual Conference workbook, brochure, orientation videos and the basic conference agenda. For a map to the hotel click here.

The hashtag to participate in the Annual Conference 2017 Twitter feed is #flumc17.

Most Annual Conference activities take place in the hotel’s Citron and Sabal ballrooms. 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 Buena Vista Palace Citron registration booth beginning Wednesday, June 7, at 3:00 p.m. This area is located on the convention level of the hotel. The complete registration/check-in schedule and locations are posted in the Workbook, as well as online. Note that clergy registration on Thursday morning only will be at St. Luke’s UMC. Retired clergy from the Florida Conference may have badges printed at the check-in booth.

Pre-conference workshops

This year’s annual conference includes pre-conference workshops at St. Luke’s UMC Wednesday, June 7, from 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. Available topics and speaker’s bio information are available here, along with a registration link.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m., Dr. Tammy Pawloski will be the keynote speaker at a pre-conference evening event at St. Luke’s. Pawloski, director of the Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty at Francis Marion University, will present Children at Risk: A Mission of Bridge Building. Pawloski has devoted the last 10 years to the study of children of poverty—why they struggle and which strategies have the greatest impact. The address will be followed by an 8:00 p.m. reception.

For directions to St. Luke’s UMC, click here.

This year's 5K run/walk again offers a 3.1 mile course through historic downtown Windermere, Fla. All proceeds go to the Cuban Pastor Pension Initiative. There's also a competition to see which District will have the most participants in the race.

Fourth annual 5K run

This year’s run is scheduled for Thursday, June 8, 6:30 a.m. at Windermere Town Hall.

The 5K is running and walking for its fourth 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. One-hundred percent of the proceeds will go toward our Annual Conference’s support of the Cuban Pastor Pension Initiative.

New for 2017: There will be a competition to see which District will have the most registrants/participants.

Packet pick-up and race information
Pre-race Packet Pick-up: Wednesday, June 7, from 4-7 p.m. at St. Luke’s UMC, 4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Rd., Orlando, Florida.

Race Day: Thursday, June 8, 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 Areca Room, will open Thursday and Friday, June 8-9 at 7:30 a.m. with communion available both days.

Volunteers needed

All volunteer opportunities will be available at Buena Vista Palace Wednesday, June 7, through Saturday, June 10, 2017. Positions will include:

  • 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 times. Click here to sign-up for specific dates, times and positions. Call Heidi Leab, 863-688-5563 ext. 192 with any questions.

Sessions to watch

At 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 8, the clergy session will meet at St. Luke’s UMC, while laity orientation begins in the Citron Ballroom at Buena Vista Palace. At 1:30 p.m., the opening plenary session with worship will take place in the Sabal Ballroom.

A prayer vigil was held during the 2016 Annual Conference, remembering those who lost their lives in the tragic shooting at Pulse Nightclub nearly one year ago.

After a dinner break, Bishop Ken Carter will lead a worship service with communion at 7:30 p.m.

Friday’s plenary session opens with special speaker Rev. Dr. Elaine Heath, Dean of the Divinity School, Duke University. Heath is the author of numerous books and co-founder of the Missional Wisdom Foundation.

At 10:30 there will be a Service of Remembrance, followed by a memorial and retiree luncheon in the Citron Ballroom at 11:30.

The afternoon session opens with a plenary session that includes anniversary celebrations in the Sabal Ballroom at 1:30 p.m. Speaking will be Rev. Dr. Kevin M. Watson, assistant professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies, Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Watson’s research interests focus on Christian formation and discipleship from a Wesleyan perspective.

A retirement service will follow at 4 p.m. At 7 p.m., there will be a special evening revival with music and worship featuring Bishop Ricardo Pereira of the Cuba Methodist Church. Pereira is currently the senior pastor of the Methodist Church in Marianao, Havana—the largest church in the conference with more than 3200 members.

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

The 2017 Bishop’s offering

The Bishop’s offering will be collected on Friday evening and will celebrate Florida Conference partnerships with our neighbors in Cuba and Haiti. One-half of the offering will be directed to each of the following initiatives:

Cuban Pastor Pension Initiative – In collaboration with the leadership of the Methodist Church of Cuba, a pension fund for Cuban pastors will be developed based on their years of service there and related to their economic scale. A matching gift of $50,000 is already in place. 

Abundant Health for Haiti – One of four areas of focus for The United Methodist Church in 2016-2020 is the development of abundant health initiatives across our planet. A gift to feeds desperately hungry children. This will be developed through our Haiti partnership. For more details, go to


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


The 2017 Annual Conference expo will be conveniently located near the main meeting spaces. Expo hours are as follows:

Thursday, June 8, 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Friday, June 9, 7:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Saturday, June 10, 7:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Youth schedule for annual conference

Youth are encouraged to participate and experience Annual Conference. Registration includes one double-occupancy room at Buena Vista Palace and two meals. Orientation will be at 3 p.m., June 7, and youth should check-in to the hotel prior to orientation. Click here for more information.


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 Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for preschool children and older. More information is available here.

Once your registration is received, you will receive an email confirmation in return. The registration deadline has been extended to May 10, and limited spaces are available.

Specially priced Disney tickets

The Florida AC 2017 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