All United Methodists invited

INDIANAPOLIS – “Come early. Stay late,” is the mantra the Rev. John Myrland repeats again and again when he excitingedly talks about the upcoming Indiana Annual Conference session at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis June 7-9.

Myrland, pastor of McCordsville United Methodist Church east of Indianapolis and a former president of the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce before answering a call to pastoral ministry, is coordinating Community Connection activities at the upcoming annual conference session. He brings extensive knowledge about Indianapolis and his own enthusiasm for the city, which has much to offer all its visitors, especially those planning to attend the annual conference whether or not they are a pastor or lay member of annual conference.

“Community Connection will take the church beyond the walls of the Convention Center and all into the Indianapolis community for outreach, Christian witness and fun,” Myrland told Together.

Indianapolis has much to offer in the way of museums and other nationally known attractions, including the NCAA Hall of Champions, Indiana State Museum, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis Zoo, Indiana Historical Society (all downtown), plus the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the world’s largest children’s museum.

But that’s only the beginning.


Before and after the annual conference session, conference leaders will be partnering with United Methodist Metro Ministries and the Greater Indianapolis Habitat for Humanity to provide a coordinated mission outreach to the people of Indianapolis.

During the past three years, more than 20 United Methodist congregations in Indianapolis and Metro Ministries have partnered with Habitat to build three homes. Conference participants will partner with Habitat again to work on a United Methodist build and join other Habitat builds in progress.

According to Metro Ministries Executive Director Lisa Morris, “Come early Wednesday and Thursday (June 6-7) to be a part of the Indiana United Methodist Mission Outreach in Central Indiana. The mission outreach is not just for those who are conference members but for all United Methodist church members in Indiana who come to Indianapolis to be a part of this vital mission outreach.”

She outlined these Indianapolis outreach mission projects being planned. They include:

  • Partnering with Habitat for Humanity and the Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis Centennial Celebration on four Habitat homes to be built in the Martindale-Brightwood community,
  • Raising funds for the Habitat for Humanity Martindale-Brightwood 10-home blitz of 2012,
  • Partnering with Dave Withey of the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program at Meridian Street UMC and Martindale-Brightwood Neighborhood Association on small rehab projects,
  • Partnering with United Methodist-related Brightwood Community Center building a new playground next to the center,
  • Providing a family night at Brightwood Community Center Wednesday, June 6, serving the neighborhood families with food, games and activity stations staffed by Indiana UMC volunteers,
  • Knitting preemie hats for Riley Hospital for Children while in conference session, and
  • Joining Roberts Park UMC projects (for those who do not want to use hammer and nails) by painting tile blocks and preparing sack lunches for the church’s feeding ministries.

Mission outreach projects happening during the conference session will include writing notes of encouragement to volunteers, to children at Brightwood and to Roberts Park meal recipients.

Also during the session, Spiritual Life will be coordinated by Indiana Conference Prayer Coordinator Shirley Saddler of Van Buren UMC and Betty Brandt of St. Luke’s UMC Indianapolis. One breakout room in the Convention Center will be set up with a labyrinth, prayer room and foot-washing station, and will be open to the public. The Spiritual Life team also plans to be part of the Circle Event.

Circle Event

The Conference Circle Event will take place on Monument Circle a few blocks northeast of the convention center in the heart of Downtown Indy either Thursday or Friday, June 7 or 8. For all practical purposes, this event will be hosted by United Methodists (not just members of the conference) as a witness to the city during downtown’s lunch hour. The Circle Event is being coordinated by the Conference Connectional Ministries staffers, the Rev. Brian Durand and Helene Foust.

“The event will present a broad and positive view of The United Methodist Church. There will be many ministry opportunities,” said Myrland.

The event also will include music, celebration and prayer. The purpose is to let the public know who we are as United Methodists.

Saturday before, after

Community Connection will culminate with two public events before and after the Service of Ministry, including ordination and the commissioning of clergy.

The Conference Connection task force is working with Bishop Mike Coyner to plan a United Methodist-sponsored Saturday morning Prayer Breakfast at the convention center with state and community leaders. Governor Mitch Daniels plans to speak. This will be a public event.

When it’s all said and done at the Convention Center, Hoosier United Methodists will head for Victory Field and cheer Bishop Mike as he throws out the ceremonial first pitch during the Indianapolis Indians game.

Plans call for a United Methodist choir to sing the National Anthem and UM Youth to sing during the seventh-inning stretch. The cost of the game will be $7. Tickets may be ordered as part of the registration. Churches can bring a busload of people and join the crowd.

Myrland said the intent of Community Connection is “to come early, stay late, and have fun while sharing the love of God for all creation by reaching out and being of service to ALL people in the Greater Indianapolis area.”

For more information, visit and click on Annual Conference Session.

For more information about Indianapolis and attractions, visit

“Community Connection will take the church beyond the walls of the convention center.”

– John Myrland

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the world’s largest children’s museum and just a few miles north of the convention center.

The White River State Park Canal is only two blocks north of the Indiana Convention Center and winds through downtown Indy.

Photo courtesy of Habitat for Humanity

Volunteers pause during a UM-Habitat for Humanity build this past year in Indianapolis. A similar build will be part of annual conference.