Theme: Practice Faith

In evaluating the first Indiana Annual Conference session in Muncie this past year, annual conference planners have made strategic changes both in locations and events to improve the second session of the Indiana Conference at Ball State University at Muncie.

The 3,000 members of the Indiana Annual Conference will meet June 10-13 at their second session on the campus of Ball State University. This body represents and does the annual business for the state’s 1,200 United Methodist congregations.

The Rev. James Bushfield, director of Connectional Ministries for the Indiana Conference, and Ruth Ellen Needler, assistant director of office and conference services, outlined areas of changes and improvements since the previous conference sessions.

They told Together, “we listened and here are the changes.”

These changes included a new registration tent for easier and less crowded registration than last year at the beginning of conference. “The tent will then become a hospitality tent for the rest of the conference session,” said Needler.

Other changes include:

  • Displays have been moved to the Emens Auditorium building;
  • The Prayer Room and health-screenings areas will be in an adjoining building to Emens;
  • Parking has been improved by adding handicap spaces near Emens, opening additional parking lots behind the Student Center and increasing the number of shuttles running throughout the day.
  • The Student Center is open. It was closed this past year for renovations. The Center will provide more meal options than members previously had and all group meals will be back on campus in the Center.

Registration fee

Due to annual conference finances, the Indiana Conference Sessions Committee needed to impose a registration fee for all conference members attending the session.

Bushfield told Together, “This year participants will be asked to pay a $25 registration fee when registering. This will cover the expense of registration, printed materials, mailings and related expenses. We have held off as long as we can. We are the last conference in the jurisdiction to add this fee for service. We still have free parking and shuttle service plus the on-site support of our staff.”

Schnase’s book

A highlight of this year’s conference will be three plenary presentations by Bishop Robert Schnase and the first global emphasis of his latest book Five Practices of Fruitful Living.

“This book will be released this spring. Registered conference members will receive a complimentary copy of this book at annual conference,” said Bushfield.

Day of Outreach

Once again, the church will move out of the building into the streets of Muncie to practice its faith through various service projects across the city. Members of the conference will be able to choose from among different types of projects including construction and repair; nursing home visits; seated projects for Yes Kit assembly; prayer walking neighborhoods, the mall and downtown; downtown Muncie clean-up; local missions work; and food collection at various locations. Volunteers from local congregations have been organizing the event with great enthusiasm as they look forward to a large turn-out from the conference for this day of fellowship and service in the community. The day will culminate with an evening worship and praise service for God’s abundant blessings in Emens Auditorium with sharing of stories of encounters with God from the day.

Last year’s Day of Outreach was sponsored by United Methodist Communications and Indiana’s United Methodist-related institutions. There will be a participation fee of $20 this year which includes meals, transportation, project expenses and a T-shirt. The required registration for the event will take place online for during registration for the Indiana Annual Conference session.


Chuck Scott of Fort Wayne, who will lead music during conference worship services, recently told the session committee that the praise team already held its first rehearsal March 13 in Indianapolis. Other rehearsals are planned for April 10, May 8 and June 9. New to the conference this year will be a bell choir and children’s choir, showing the diversity of music across the conference.

Each session of the annual conference will open with a brief time of worship led by the praise team. Two worship services will be held during the conference: The Service of Remembrance and Celebration of Resurrection on Friday evening celebrating the lives of those who died this past year and A Service of Ordination and Commissioning scheduled for Sunday morning. Both services as well as each plenary session will be video Web casted and archived for later viewing.

There also will be a service to recognize the service of more than 30 pastors who will be retiring this year. This will be during the Friday morning plenary sessions, when 15 of the 30 pastors, who wished to greet conference members on video, will be shown.

Online registration

Information about and registration for the 2010 Indiana Annual Conference session is or will be available online at Information about hotel reservations, laity manuscripts, monitors and other aspects of the conference will continue to be posted online as plans for the conference continue to be fulfilled.

A schedule of the conference session will be published in the May-June issue of Together.

Members of the sessions committee include: Bishop Mike Coyner, Mary Hubbard, chairperson; James Bushfield; Bill Keith, Ike Williams; Kayc Mykrantz; David V.W. Owen; Chuck Scott; Shannon Stringer; Dan Gangler; Dale Mendenhall; Carolyn Johnson, Karen Powell and Ruth Ellen Needler.

The Student Center at Ball State University

“We listened and here are the changes.”

– James Bushfield
and Ruth Ellen Needler