The North Indiana Annual Conference will not have a conference preacher this year during its session. Indiana Area Bishop Mike Coyner will be preaching at the Memorial Service at the opening of conference on Thursday morning and during the Commissioning and Ordination Service on Saturday.

Tom Butcher, the church's executive officer for New Church Starts in the United States and leader of the Path 1 Team of the General Board of Discipleship, will be speaking Thursday evening May 29 during the Church Development Celebration Service.

Butcher will work to build and implement the denomination's collaborative effort to train 1,000 new church planters who are planning to start 650 new congregations by 2012. He leads the denomination's effort to make new disciples of Jesus Christ by planting new churches. A leader with a proven track record of helping to start new churches, during Butcher's tenure in Congregational Development, he facilitated the start-up of 24 new churches and the revitalization of more than 40 others congregations.

Butcher previously served as district superintendent in the Desert Southwest Conference and as pastor of University United Methodist Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, for three years.

He was conference council director and director of congregational development for eight years in the Desert Southwest Conference, in addition to chairing Congregational Development for the Western Jurisdiction.

He has served the United Methodist Church for more than 30 years.