INDIANAPOLIS – This year, annual conference attendees will have be equipped to tell their stories and share their individual faith relationship with God and one another as they do the work of the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church through the overall theme, “Share Your Story.”
Throughout the three-day event set for May 28-30 at the Indianapolis Convention Center, the conference members will vote on key legislation, ordain new clergy, worship, learn and elect delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conferences – while connecting our individual stories to our greater connection of the church at-large.
The event logo features two word bubbles on a ripped sheet of paper to showcase that storytelling happens in a multitude of ways, whether it be through written word or a conversational dialogue between friends.
AC2015 will reflect the theme throughout the three days of business and worship, which will also include teaching times, a prayer breakfast and educational workshops. The conference will also feature electronic balloting for the first time, which is hoped to make the election of delegates a more efficient process.
The 2015 conference’s worship and music will be led by Francis D. Wyatt, Contemporary Worship and Arts Leader at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Indianapolis. Worship will consist of several new and lively aspects to help build on the conference’s theme of equipping members to tell their story.
Many of the speakers have already been set for AC2015, however, some are still being finalized as Bishop Coyner and the Annual Conference Planning Team continues their work in shaping the theme and aspects for the conference.
The conference will open Thursday, May 28, and closed Saturday afternoon, May 30, by Bishop Michael J. Coyner, resident bishop of the Indiana Conference.
The ordination service will be led by Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, resident bishop of the Louisiana Conference, in the evening of Thursday, May 28. Prior to her 2012 election to the episcopacy, Harvey served as the head of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, the denomination’s global relief agency based out of New York.
Reverend Dr. Everett Carver McGriff, retired elder of the Indiana Conference, will lead the memorial service. McGriff served several churches throughout the former South Indiana Conference, as well as St. Luke’s United Methodist in Indianapolis and is also the author of Making Sense of Normandy: A Young Man’s Journey of Faith and War.
George Howard, Deputy General Secretary for Mission and Evangelism of the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM), will be the featured teacher for the conference, offering keynotes on Friday, May 29, as well as at the mission luncheon Saturday, May 30. Howard has a passion for international missions and community development, as well as The United Methodist Church. Prior to his role with GBGM, Howard served as the director of connectional ministries of the West Ohio Conference.
As is done every four years, this year members will elect delegates for General and North Central Jurisdictional conferences.
General Conference is the global UMC’s quadrennial legislative gathering, set for May 10-20, 2016, in Portland, Oregon, where United Methodist representatives from around the world participate in holy conferencing to discuss, pray, debate, and eventually determine key legislative issues that will become church law for the next four years.
Jurisdictional Conference, which is set for July 13-16, 2016, in Peoria, Ill., is also held every four years and is primarily focused on the election of bishops, but also has other various tasks in making rules and regulations for the administration of the mission of the church within the bounds of the jurisdiction.
During AC2015, members elect will 16 delegates (eight clergy and eight laity) to General Conference and 16 additional delegates (eight clergy and eight laity), who will go to Jurisdictional Conference with the General Conference delegates. Handheld devices with a keypad will be used to vote on delegates and this will be the first time that the Indiana Conference has used electronic balloting.
Those who are willing to serve as delegates and have been endorsed by their districts or the conference Leadership Table are available for viewing on the conference website at inumc.org/willingtoserve2015.
Dr. James Bushfield and the Annual Conference Executive Committee have sourced a diverse offering of workshops to support the conference theme and provide enhanced learning opportunities for conference members. Workshops will range from loving thy neighbor to discovering the story of your church, as well as bible storying. Please visit inumc.org/ac15workshops for a full list of titles and descriptions.
The Conference Board of Laity, in partnership with the Cabinet, is encouraging local churches to engage in Mission Indiana 2015: Share Your Story as missional experience to impact communities across the Hoosier state. Churches are asked to plan local mission activities during the week leading up to AC2015, Saturday May 23 through Saturday, May 30. To share the mission opportunities, churches are asked to provide information to district lay leaders and assistants for others to participate. A special showing of the statewide movement will be planned during the conference. More information will be available on the conference website soon.
For more information on the annual conference, please visit inumc.org/AC15.