Dear Lay and Clergy Members of the Annual Conference, Conference and Agency Leaders,
We launched “Alive Together in Worship” at the conclusion of the 2017 Annual Conference. When we meet again this June we will have much to celebrate for our churches have been diligently pursuing our goal of increasing average worship attendance by 10%.
This year’s annual conference session will include stirring music, inspiring updates on our ministries over the past year, commissioning, ordination, retirements, and the memorial service for clergy and clergy spouses who have died in the past year.
Mrs. Claire Bowen, a corporate trainer who grew up in Statesboro, will lead us in a very practical teaching session called “Plan on a Page.” Through this simple process, each delegate can learn how to lead his or her local church in developing a strategic plan for worship, witness, and outreach.
Special emphasis will be given to reporting on the work of the Commission on a Way Forward. By the time we meet in June, the Commission will have made its final report to the Council of Bishops. The bishops were asked to develop a plan for a Way Forward and to recommend that to the whole church for study and discussion leading up to the 2019 called General Conference. We will acknowledge the district dialogues that have already provided direct involvement for our laity and clergy. Then we will consider how our conference may best position ourselves to prayerfully consider the plan for a Way Forward once that is presented to us.
How can we move forward into unfamiliar territory and in the face of uncertainty? Fortunately, Tod Bolsinger has an answer to that question. Reading his book, “Canoeing The Mountains,” is an excellent way to prepare for annual conference 2018 and for the special session of General Conference in 2019.
Charles Wesley’s great hymn asks, “And Are We Yet Alive?” The South Georgia Conference answers, “Yes, we are Alive Together in Worship!”
See you on Jekyll Island in June!
As you can see, lots of planning has already gone into this year’s Annual Conference session. Below are some additional details you will find helpful. More information can always be found on the conference website, www.sgaumc.org/annualconference.
Please note that the Book of Recommendations and Reports will be available for clergy and lay members by May 1. This annual publication will be available for purchase through lulu.com as a professionally bound book, or may be downloaded as a PDF file for free from the conference website. An email notification will be sent to all clergy and lay members when the publication is ready.
Also, if there has been a change in the lay member(s) representing your charge, please log in to your church dashboard, www.sgaumc.org/dashboard, and make the change in the "My Church's Leaders" section. Please share the change with your district office.
Dr. Jay Harris, Conference Secretary
The 2018 Annual Conference Session will begin with an Opening Worship Service on Sunday evening, June 3, at 6:30 p.m. Conference will conclude with the Sending Forth Service on Tuesday, June 5. Below is a tentative schedule of events.
Sunday, June 3, 2018
2:30 PM Registration Opens
6:30 PM Opening Worship Service
7:45 PM Laity Orientation & Clergy Session
Monday, June 4, 2018
8:30 AM Opening Plenary Session
11:00 AM Golden Anniversary/Retiree Recognition
12:00 PM Lunch
1:00 PM Gathering of Family & Friends of Deceased Servants
2:00 PM Memorial Service
3:20 PM Afternoon Plenary Session
5:45 PM Methodist Home Barbecue
7:30 PM Ordination/Commissioning Service
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
8:30 AM Morning Plenary Session
12:00 PM Lunch
2:00 PM Afternoon Plenary
3:15 PM Fixing the Appointments/Sending Forth
4:00 PM Adjournment
Childcare & Beach Camp
We will be providing childcare for infants through preschool and Beach Camp for children who have completed kindergarten through middle school.
Childcare for infants through preschool age children will be available for all worship services and business sessions at Jekyll Island Baptist Church (501 Riverview Drive). We've got lots of fun things planned for our little ones - crafts, games, and lots more! Childcare cost is $5.00 per child/day.
Elementary and middle school age children will be participating in Beach Camp hosted by the Camp Connect Leadership Team, under the direction of Suzanne Akins. Beach Camp will be available for opening worship and business sessions only. Cost for the Beach Camp is $5.00 per child/day with additional opportunities for excursions for campers. The gathering place for Beach Camp will be at the Convention Center.
Pre-registration for all childcare is REQUIRED by May 28 so we know how to plan for crafts, materials, snacks and lunch as well as to ensure our staffing is Safe Sanctuaries compliant. For all the details and to register, visit www.sgaumc.org/childcare or contact Allison Lindsey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a group that would like to plan a banquet or special event, contact Dr. Wright Culpepper at email@example.com or 912.261.8512, ext. 101.
Display spaces are available to groups and agencies related to the South Georgia Conference. Display spaces for United Methodist Church agencies cost $75 without power and $80 with power. This is the cost passed on to us by the Convention Center. Other non-UM agencies and vendors also have the opportunity to set up displays. Please see the display policy for those prices and conditions. The display policy as well as the registration form to reserve booth space can be found at www.sgaumc.org/displays. Reservations for the space must be made by the May 1 deadline prior to the conference.
The registration fee for all pastors and lay members to Annual Conference is $20. Retired clergy not serving a church are exempt from this fee. You will pay when you register at Annual Conference.
Expenses / Per diem
Clergy and lay delegates who represent a local church shall have their expenses (including registration) paid by the local church (this includes retired clergy who are serving a church). Lay delegates who represent an organization and extension ministers shall have their expenses paid by the organization they represent. Retired clergy not under appointment and clergy on disability shall receive a per diem of $65 per day for each day attended. Lay members who do not represent a local church or conference organization shall receive a per diem on the same basis. Retired local pastors who are not serving a church do not retain their clergy status according to the Book of Discipline, and so do not qualify for a per diem.
Change in Lay Member
If there has been a change in the lay member representing your local church/charge, please make sure to pass this information onto the correct person. Please share the change with Meredyth Earnest at firstname.lastname@example.org or let your district office know.
Receiving the Communications Needed for the 2018 Annual Conference Session
As a delegate to Annual Conference, you will receive several important communications leading up to Annual Conference. The purpose of these communications is to inform you of the matters you need to know about the ministry of the church, its organization, and any decisions you will be asked to make during the conference session.
Most of the business items for the conference session are contained in the Book of Recommendations and Reports (BOR). Inside the BOR you'll find a complete conference agenda, driving and parking information, helpful annual conference information, detailed reports from conference ministries, pension and benefits recommendations, conference budgets, and much more. One of the purposes of the BOR is to allow you to read the recommendations and reports before you come to conference. A good delegate is a prepared delegate. In May, the BOR will be made available in two ways. It will be made available for download as a PDF file at no cost, in its entirety or in sections, on our conference website (www.sgaumc.org/annualconference), and disseminated through other electronic means. You will also be able to purchase a professionally bound printed copy for around $5.00 plus shipping through lulu.com. Ordering information will be provided when the BOR is ready. The Book of Recommendations will not be mailed nor will printed copies be available at the Annual Conference session. If you prefer a printed copy versus a digital download, you must print it at church, at home, or purchase one through lulu.com.
Please continue to visit www.sgaumc.org/annualconference often as we approach annual conference. Some reports that do not make the BOR publication deadline will only be available on the website. These reports will be important to have during the Annual Conference session.
Prior to arriving at Jekyll please download onto your digital device or print all the materials you want to have with you during the Annual Conference session.
For a list of hotel options, please visit www.sgaumc.org/hotels.
Venue & Driving Directions
All conference business and worship services will be held at the Jekyll Island Convention Center. The convention center is located at 75 Beachview Drive N, Jekyll Island, GA 31527. From US Highway 17, you will turn onto Jekyll via the Jekyll Island Causeway. Once on the island you will stay straight until you reach the roundabout. At the roundabout you will veer right and then circle around to your left, which will put you on Beachview Drive. The convention center and parking will be on your right. Handicap parking will be clearly marked. Golf carts will be available to provide assistance for people getting from their cars to the main doors of the convention center.
Parking and Getting on the Island
In some of our previous venues, we have had parking costs connected to the area around the venue itself or to the hotels in the area. At Jekyll Island, there are no parking fees, but there is a fee to get onto the island. It is $6.00 per 24-hour period. For those who stay on Jekyll and don’t leave the island, it will be a one-time fee. Even if you come on the island each day in your own car, you can time your entrances to conceivably pay only twice, since the $6.00 fee is good for 24 hours.
For questions regarding the business of Annual Conference, please contact Dr. Jay Harris at email@example.com. For questions regarding local arrangements or any general questions, please contact Bill Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kelly Roberson at 912-270-6172 or email@example.com.