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FAQs for the 2020 Virtual Annual Conference Session

 

What should I do if I made a hotel reservation in Tifton? 
If you made a hotel reservation in Tifton, you will need to call and cancel your reservation. 

 

What technology do I need to participate in a virtual Annual Conference
Members and guests will need an internet-connected device such as a desktop or laptop computer, tablet, or smartphone. You will access the session using a web browser (i.e. the platform you use to get on the Internet, such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.). A webcam is not necessary. Only videos of conference leaders and presenters will be shown during the session. Members of the Annual Conference may speak, ask questions or raise points of order via a chat feature if microphone capabilities are not available. 

A non-voting live stream option will be available on the conference website for any guests and families who wish to view the sessions. The Retiree Recognition and Memorial Services will also be made available on the conference website.

 

Will you provide detailed instructions on the Rules of Order for the conference session and voting process?
Yes. Detailed instructions about how we will conduct our conference and how the voting process works will be provided. As a reminder, our conference uses the Modern Rules of Order to conduct our business sessions. In addition, there will be training sessions prior to the virtual session to help familiarize yourself with the process:
July 29 at 2 pm | July 30 at 8 am | August 10 at 6 pm | August 11 at 10 am

 

What if I do not have access to reliable internet service or am not comfortable using technology?
If you do not have access to reliable internet access, please contact your district office and they will help partner you with a nearby church. Several training dates have been set prior to these sessions for individuals to practice voting and become comfortable with the technology. Training dates: 
July 29 at 2 pm | July 30 at 8 am | August 10 at 6 pm | August 11 at 10 am

 

What will be included in the agenda for the virtual Annual Conference
A detailed agenda may be found here

 

What about agenda items we aren’t able to include this year?
We will take up postponed agenda items and celebrations at the 2021 Annual Conference.

 

Will there be bathroom and lunch breaks included on the agenda?
Yes. We will include scheduled breaks on the agenda. 

 

What about Commissioning and Ordination?
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry has offered this guidance: “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the timing for annual conference and clergy sessions across our connection, including the Ordering of Ministry services. … Judicial Council Decision 1181 (http://ee.umc.org/decisions/42107) states that clergy attain provisional or full membership immediately upon clergy session approval. Membership is not dependent upon their participation in the commissioning or ordination service. Therefore, those elected by the 2020 clergy session immediately enter their new membership status. … The Discipline does not speak to a time limitation between the date of election and date of ordination or commissioning, so conferences have the authority to consider their best options for holding the Order of Ministry service. They may choose to hold the service later in 2020 or in 2021.” 

 

In consultation with the Board of Ministry and those being commissioned and ordained, two service(s) will be held in a local church setting with only family and close friends present. The Commissioning Service is set for Saturday, August 8 at 2:00 pm. The Service of Ordination is set for Sunday, August 9 at 4:00 pm. These services will be live-streamed.

 

When will we celebrate Retirements and the Service of Remembrance?
Celebrating retirements as a Conference and remembering the saints who have gone before us are treasured times for our Conference. 2020 Retirees will be celebrated on Tuesday, August 11 at 7 pm via a virtual service. We will remember clergy and clergy spouses who passed away this year on August 13 at 7 pm via a virtual service. Afterward, these services will be posted on the conference website to be viewed anytime.

 

Will there be registration or a registration fee for the Virtual Annual Conference Session?
Registration: Pre-registration is not required for Annual Conference. However, lay and clergy member attendance is recorded in the Conference Journal. Churches must make sure that the elected lay member(s) to Annual Conference is entered into the Church Dashboard by July 30, 2020. Contact your district office for help using the Church Dashboard.

 

We understand that something may change with your elected lay member to Annual Conference after July 30. If this happens, please contact Meredyth Earnest at meredyth@sgaumc.com. We can make adjustments up until Monday, August 10. After this time, no further voter registration ids will be issued for the August 15 session.

This deadline allows us to prepare for the session and provide all necessary information to our voting platform company in a timely manner.

 

Registration Fee: The registration fee has been waived for this year’s Annual Conference.

 

I'm a clergy or lay member of the South Georgia Annual Conference. How do I get voting credentials for the virtual 2020 Clergy Session and/or 2020 Annual Conference Session?
To participate in this year’s Annual Conference as a voting member, both clergy and laity will be required to have an individual voter identification (voter id) number. In order to receive the voter id, a unique, personal email address must be on record in the conference database no later than July 13 for clergy and July 30 for laity. Churches are responsible for updating elected lay member's email addresses through the Church Dashboard. Clergy can update their email address by emailing their district office or Meredyth Earnest at meredyth@sgaumc.com

 

Note that for security purposes, only the email address in the database can be used to issue voting credentials. Voting credentials, along with the link to participate in the session(s), will be emailed the week of the meeting.

 

Who is eligible to vote as a clergy member of the Annual Conference?
Clergy Session (August 2): The Book of Discipline stipulates that only Full Clergy Members (active or retired Elders and Deacons) and Lay Members of the Board of Ordained Ministry may vote on the conference relations of clergy, which is the normal business of the clergy session. All clergy members may attend the session, but only those stated above will have a vote. Local pastors and Associate Members will be able to vote on the election of the Chair of the Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members.

 

Annual Conference Session (August 15): Clergy members who are eligible to vote on the business matters of the annual conference are defined as: Full Elders, Full Deacons, Associate Members, Provisional Elders, Provisional Deacons, Retired Elders, Retired Deacons, Retired Associate Members, Retired Provisional Members (who retired before 2013), and Full-time, Part-time, and Retired Local Pastors who are under appointment at the time of the 2020 Annual Conference session. These will include those who will have been recently received on August 2nd into any of the new clergy relationships listed above.

 

What if the lay member to Annual Conference for my charge has changed
If you have a change in the lay member to Annual Conference, please contact Meredyth Earnest, Conference Registrar, at meredyth@sgaumc.com

 

Will there be a Book of Recommendations and Reports this year?
Yes. Click here to download or order this year's Book of Recommendations and Reports

 

I have more questions about the Virtual Annual Conference. How do I stay informed?
Regularly check www.sgaumc.org/annualconference where we will post information as it is available. For additional questions, please email nitac@sguamc.com or kelly@sgaumc.com.

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