More firsts coming June 8-11 in Muncie

As the new Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church, this year’s Annual Conference Session at Ball State University in Muncie, June 8-11, will continue with more firsts.

This year will be the first time the new Indiana Conference will be electing delegates to the General and North Central Jurisdictional Conferences of the church. Those conferences will be held respectively next year at Tampa, Fla., April 24-May 4, and at Akron, Ohio, July 17-21.

Beginning on Wednesday evening and proceeding ballot-by-ballot, nine lay delegates and nine clergy delegates will be elected to the General Conference. Following these elections, nine more lay and nine more clergy delegates will be elected to the North Central Jurisdictional Conference. Those elected to General Conference also will be delegates at the jurisdictional conference.

There will be a Meet-and-Greet opportunity on Wednesday evening for members and candidates to become better acquainted with each other before the first ballot is taken. General Conference is the top legislative body of The United Methodist Church, which meets every four years. The North Central Jurisdiction is one of five regional jurisdictions in the United States. Jurisdictional conferences elect and assign bishops to the annual conferences of the jurisdictions.

McFee to teach

The teacher for Thursday’s day of learning will be Dr. Marcia McFee ( She also will assist in worship services and with the conference praise team, which will be another first. Conference sessions will be held in the context of worship.

McFee is an author, worship designer and leader, professor, preacher and artist. Her engaging and interactive style has been called refreshing and inspiring. She combines her background and experience in professional companies of music, theater and dance with a variety of worship and preaching styles in order to bring a fresh experience of the Gospel to each worship setting. She also has been selected to be the worship and music leader for the 2012 General Conference.

Other firsts include:

  • Keeping the Wesleyan tradition of outdoor preaching alive, stump preaching and worship will take place during breaks and mealtimes.
  • Registration will take place at the university’s Student Recreation and Wellness Center, Irving Gym 2, rather than under the tent. Shuttle service will be available to and from the site from Emens Auditorium.
  • The conference will utilize Facebook and Twitter as new forms of communication at the session. Webcasting of all plenary sessions will continue from the conference website at All conference resource materials and reports will again be placed on the conference website at the Annual Conference Session tab.
  • The conference will focus again on hospitality, including a unique way of introducing ourselves to one another during the plenary sessions so participants learn more about each other.
  • For the first time, written evaluations of the annual conference session will be focused more on the outcome and expectation so that congregations will be inspired and better able to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
  • There will be no Sunday session. The service of ministry including ordination and commissioning will be held Saturday morning. The Service of Resurrection and Remembering will be held on Friday evening. The Rev. Brian White, superintendent of the Southeast District based in Columbus, will deliver the sermon during this service.

Due to the election process, and a shorter time frame, there will be no formal mission outreach for the entire annual conference. At the past annual conference, members were encouraged to perform mission outreach days in their home communities and share their stories at this annual conference.

Each registered member of annual conference also will receive an outreach bag at check-in containing a “God’s Grace Candy Gram,” prayer walking guide, random acts of kindness suggestions for everyone to do while in town, plus trash bags and gloves for individual trash pick-up. The United Methodist congregations of Muncie will be prayer walking and conducting a food drive for local pantries during the annual conference session.

Many organizations and related institutions of the annual conference will offer information in an exhibit area as in previous years.

A complete schedule and more information about the Third Annual Conference Session will be published in the May/June issue of Together.

Registration for the Third Annual Conference Session is now online at

News and information about the annual conference session are available online at, click on Annual Conference Session.

The Rev. Karen Powell serves as pastor of New Horizons UMC in Anderson and as interim chairperson of the Indiana Conference Sessions Committee.