Prayer is at the heart of all we do as United Methodists, and the theme of our Annual Conference this year is “Praying Forward.” It is our hope that the whole Conference will be drenched in prayer! To that end, we are asking those of you who are not able to be at Muncie to be present in prayer. Please sign up for a slot to be in prayer that God will show us the way forward for our Conference. We have created two slots for each half hour the Conference will be present, around the clock. (Whenever two or more of you are present in my name…) If you are a night owl, please sign up for a late slot. We’re only asking for half an hour, (but feel free to take more). If you sign up, we’ll send you some prayer topic suggestions, but we’re not going to tell you how to pray. Please bless us with your presence in prayer. Click here to sign up. ~ Rev. Ann Thomas, Prayer Coordinator
All worship services will be live-streamed and times listed below are Eastern Time.
Opening Worship ~ Thursday, June 8 at 9 a.m. ET, speaker Bishop Julius C. Trimble
Prayer Breakfast (reservation required) ~ Friday, June 9 at 8 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. ET, speaker Reverend Sue Nilson Kibbey
“Growing Young” ~ Friday, June 9 at 10:00 a.m. ET, Morning Plenary Session, speaker Jake Mulder
Retiring Clergy Recognition Service ~ Friday, June 9 at 11:30 a.m. ET
Celebration of Life Worship Service ~ Friday, June 9 at 7 p.m. ET, speaker Reverend Tony Alstott
Celebration of Ministry: Commissioning and Ordination Worship Service ~ Saturday, June 10 at 2:30 p.m. ET, speaker Bishop Sharma D. Lewis with Conference-wide choir performing
Bishop Julius C. Trimble
Preacher, Opening Worship Service, Thursday
Our resident bishop of the Indiana Conference is a servant leader with general oversight and supervision of the life of the Church and the Annual Conference.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, our bishop guards the faith, order, liturgy, doctrine, and discipline of the Church.
A missional leader with a vital spirit for mission, social justice, and making disciples of Jesus Christ; Bishop Julius C. Trimble leads the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church with a heart of discipleship, commitment to leadership development, stewardship, ministry with the poor, church development, and passionate worship. As bishop of The United Methodist Church, Trimble also works to ensure that the UMC Four Focus Areas are embodied in the life of the Conference.
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis
Preacher, Celebration of Ministry, Saturday 2:30 PM
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis, resident bishop of The Mississippi Episcopal area, comes to Mississippi after having served the past six years in the
Richmond area of the Virginia Annual Conference. She was assigned to The Mississippi Annual Conference by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference’s Committee on Episcopacy in November 2022. Her assignment in Mississippi began January 1, 2023. Bishop Lewis was the first African American woman to be elected bishop in the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church in 2016.
Prior to her election in 2016, she held a distinguished record of service in the North Georgia Conference including her appointment as district superintendent of the Atlanta-Decatur-Oxford District in 2010. In 2007, Bishop Lewis’ remarkable pastoral leadership at Wesley Chapel, a three-year tenure, led to over 600 new and restored members and worship attendance doubled. While there, her visibility as a strong spiritual and pastoral leader propelled her into numerous leadership roles in the local community, including Hands on Henry County and Many Hearts, Many Hands McDonough. Her ministry here culminated as she received the Harry Denman Award for Evangelism in 2010 as well as the G. Ross Freeman Leadership Award. Prior to these roles, Bishop Lewis was appointed in 1999 as the associate (and subsequently senior associate) pastor of the 8,000-member Ben Hill United Methodist Church in Atlanta and as senior pastor of the Powers Ferry UMC, a cross-racial assignment in Marietta, Ga.
Bishop Lewis has offered her gifts to The United Methodist Church in a variety of ways. She is currently the Vice and Personnel Chair of the Gammon Theological Seminary Board of Trustees. She is a member of the Black Clergywomen and Black Methodist for Church Renewal (BMCR) of The United Methodist Church. Bishop Lewis has also been appointed as the liaison to the Interagency Sexual Ethics Task Force (IASETF), a taskforce of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women. She served on the Board of Governors for Wesley Theological Seminary and as ex-officio of the five United Methodist colleges in the Virginia Conference. She is also a member of the Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) Committee on Coordination and Accountability (CCA) and a member of the Study Commission Ministry (GBHEM). Bishop Lewis currently serves on the Board for the International Foundation for Ewha Womans University, Inc. Bishop Lewis served on and is a past member of the World Methodist Evangelism Committee (WME). The North Georgia Annual Conference honored Bishop Lewis by electing her as the first African American female to lead the delegation to the 2012 General and Jurisdictional Conferences. In 2015, she was once again voted to lead the delegation to the 2016 General and Jurisdictional Conferences.
Bishop Lewis was born and raised in Statesboro, Ga. in a loving Methodist family where individuals have answered God’s call to serve the church and to minister to God’s people. A graduate of Mercer University (B.S., Biology, 1985), the University of West Georgia (M.S., Biology, 1988) and Gammon Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center (M.Div., 1999), Bishop Lewis worked as a research biologist and chemist prior to surrendering to God’s call upon her life. She has led mission experiences to Jamaica, Kenya and the Philippines.
Bishop Lewis is the recipient of the Wesleyan Theological Society Award and the Scouting Silver Torch Award. She is the recipient of the 2014 Gammon Theological Seminary Distinguished Alumna and Trailblazer Award given by The National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc., Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter. Bishop Lewis is a member of the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She has received the Delta Sigma Theta Pinnacle and Torch Award. She is the author of Journey to Transformation, (Lenten Study), and Struggle to the Cross, (Lenten Study).
To contact Bishop Lewis email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Giovanni Arroyo
Speaker, IN Against Racism Dinner, Thursday 5 pm & Ethnic Clergy Luncheon, Friday 12n
The Rev. Dr. Giovanni Arroyo serves as the General Secretary of the United Methodist General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR),
the agency formed to hold the denomination accountable to its commitment to reject racism in the life of the church. Rev. Dr. Arroyo is the lead official of the denominational agency that cultivates racial inclusion and the full participation of all people into the work, witness, and life of The UMC. He is responsible for overseeing resources of the agency worldwide and all the administrative, programmatic initiatives addressing racism, tribalism, diversity, inclusion and other forms of isms. Rev. Dr. Arroyo is the first Hispanic/ Latino in the denomination’s history to serve in this position.
Rev. Sue Nilson Kibbey
Guest Speaker, Prayer Breakfast, Friday 8 AM
Reverend Nilson Kibbey’s local church ministry appointments have included a variety of roles, including executive pastor of Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in Tipp City, Ohio -partnering with
senior pastor, Mike Slaughter, for a decade of dramatic growth, including both local and global missional fruitfulness.
Rev. Kibbey also served on the executive staff of the United Methodist West Ohio Conference as the creator and director of the Missional Church Consultation Initiative (MCCI)-which eventually spread across multiple states and has engaged more than 200 churches of all sizes and settings in creative revitalization for a fresh season of impact. Sue now leads the Innovation Center’s new prayer-fueled “Floodgates Collective,” which offers customized training and practical implementation guidance for congregations longing to shift from plateau or decline into vibrant, prayer-saturated, Spirit-guided steps forward.
Rev. Kibbey is a nationally-recognized trainer, consultant and author of multiple books and resources, each aimed to equip and fuel the spiritual and missional renewal of pastors, leaders and congregations. Sue’s greatest passion is igniting churchwide congregational momentum with what she terms a “Breakthrough Prayer Initiative,” for which she’s provided training and equipping thousands of church pastors, leaders and members.
Rev. Kibbey is an adjunct faculty instructor at United, teaching the master of divinity “Leadership for Ministry” course each year. She’s also a mentor-assistant for United’s “Open the Floodgates” Doctor of Ministry cohort, together with lead mentor Rev. Dr. Brian Law.
Her most recent books include the following:
- Dynamite Prayer: A 28-Day Experiment ©2022, Invite Resources
- Floodgates: Holy Momentum for a Fearless Church ©2016, Abingdon Press
- Ultimate Reliance: Breakthrough Prayer Practices for Leaders ©2019, Abingdon Press
- Open Road: The Adventure of a Breakthrough Prayer Initiative ©2021, MarketSquare Books
Guest Speaker, Plenary Session, Friday 10 AM
Jake Mulder, MDiv, is the Assistant Chief of Leadership Formation at Fuller Seminary, Senior Advisor for the Fuller Youth Institute, and is completing a PhD focused on congregational leadership and change.
Passionate about helping individuals and churches achieve their full potential, he is the coauthor of “Growing Young.” Jake has worked in a variety of ministry and professional roles, including as a Financial Analyst, Youth Pastor, Ministry Director with Youth for Christ, and missionary with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in Europe and Asia. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with wife Lauren and sons Will and Theodore.
Rev. Tony Alstott
Preacher, Celebration of Life Worship Service, Friday 7 pm
Rev. Tony Alstott serves as the pastor of Wesley Chapel of Floyd County and is Chair of the Indiana Conference Board of Ministry. He has been married to Rhonda for 38 years and together they have five children.
Worship Band – The Many
The Many is a creative collective that believes there is power in singing together – it changes things inside us and around us – and their vision is to create music we can sing together that’s honest, full of questions, full of faith and doubt, full of longing. These are not songs about a God who only loves some of us. This is not head in the clouds “worship music” – but feet on the ground, heart in hands, scars revealed, wild and holy, liturgically-seasoned music of resistance, reconciliation and restoration. This is music made for people to sing with each other, in churches, in living rooms, in basements and bars…anywhere, everywhere… in spirit and in truth.
Conference Choir – Calling all singers!
The 2023 Indiana Annual Conference Choir will help lead us in worship, alongside The Many, at the Celebration of Ministry service on Saturday, June 10. Rehearsal will take place that morning, with time for lunch afterward. Music will be provided ahead of time for individual preparation. The Annual Conference Choir is open to both voting members and guests. You do not have to attend the entire Annual Conference session to be a part of the Choir. Churches are also encouraged to sign-up and bring groups of singers to join on Saturday.
To join the choir, please indicate your interest on the Annual Conference registration site. Alternatively, those interested who are not attending Annual Conference, including groups from church choirs, may email Rev. Mary Dicken, annual conference worship director, at email@example.com. Sign-up deadline for the 2023 Indiana Annual Conference Choir is May 1.
Online Registration Closed
Live streaming will be available on the website the first day of the Conference.