Sharing and celebrating mission projects and advocacy ministries, more than 300 Hoosier United Methodists from across the state gathered March 4 for a Mission Advocacy Summit in Carmel.

The two-hour, noon luncheon was a time to look ahead and be excited about the endless possibilities of what can happen in Indiana and beyond as Hoosiers are mindful of the Four UMC Foci:

  • Developing principled Christian leaders for the church and the world; 
  • Creating new places for new people and renewing existing congregations; 
  • Engaging in ministry with the poor; and
  • Stamping out killer diseases of poverty by improving health globally.

Participants heard reports on global ministries as well as mission and advocacy in the new Indiana Conference from Sam Dixon, director of the United Methodist Committee on Relief based in New York City; the Rev. James Bushfield, new director of Connectional Ministries; the Rev. Cindy Reynolds, superintendent of the Warsaw District, and Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner.

Corner also introduced four rules for us to live by as we grow into the New Indiana Conference. He said:

  • The world is flat - no hierarchy);
  • The genie is out of the bottle - the conference does not control the projects; we are partners, not gatekeepers;
  • Networking is the name of the game - seeking support for the ministries we want to do; and
  • Missions is all about the main thing - keep first things first, making disciples is our main purpose.
  • Participants share questions, concerns or ideas before they left.

Conference leaders were encouraged to know the hearts and minds of so many passionate and committed people who care about people near and far. Respondents discussed or wrote for more consideration interests in networks, Indiana missions, covenants with central conferences, support of Indiana missionaries, Africa University, Advance Specials, disaster response, urban missions, connectional institutions, hunger in Indiana, parish nursing, advocacy beyond missions, prison and jail ministries, interfaith support, gambling prevention and recover, Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR), fair trade marketing, young people and advocacy, orphans in a developing world, campus ministries, relationship with General Church agencies, relationship between United Methodist Women and the conference, and Metro Ministries.

Sharon White serves as an associate council director of the former South Indiana Conference based in Bloomington.