Annual Conference 2016 Preview

4/20/2016

For more information about the 2016 North Alabama Annual Conference go to www.umcna.org/ac2016.

The 2016 North Alabama Annual Conference will gather in the Von Braun Center in Huntsville from Sunday, June 5 through Tuesday, June 7 for a 48-hour worship experience during which participants hear reports, conduct business, experience times of learning and share testimonies of ministry.
 
The theme of this year’s mission-driven Annual Conference is “Harvest: Sharing Christ.” The theme scripture comes from John 15:4-5, “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing."
 
Special Guest Speakers include Bishop Young Jin Cho of the Virginia Annual Conference and Rev. Jorge Acevedo, Lead Pastor at Grace Church, a multi-site, United Methodist congregation in Southwest Florida.
 

PreConference Meetings

Districts will hold PreConference meetings in the next two weeks. Please note the time and location of your District’s meeting. All members of Annual Conference are encouraged to attend a PreConference meeting.
 

District

Date

Time

Location

Central May 1 2:30 p.m.    Vestavia HIlls UMC
Cheaha April 24    4 p.m. Pell City First UMC
Mountain Lakes   May 1 5 p.m. Gadsden First UMC
Northeast May 1 2 p.m. DesignLab, Huntsville
Northwest May 1 4 p.m. Friendship UMC, Athens
South Central May 1 2 p.m. Christ Church UMC, Birmingham
Southeast May 1 2:30 p.m. Flint Hill UMC, Alexander City
Southwest May 1 3 p.m. Fayette First UMC
 

The Von Braun Center

The Von Braun Center is a multi-purpose indoor arena, meeting and performing arts complex located in the heart of historic downtown Huntsville. It is convenient to area hotels, restaurants and attractions. The activities of the 2016 North Alabama Conference will take place in the North Hall and East Hall areas of the complex.  This allows all the activities to be under one roof.   On Monday night, participants will gather at Trinity UMC, (less than 4 miles away) for the Service of Ordination, Commissioning and Licensing.
 
There is ample parking surrounding the Von Braun Center. Handicapped Parking for vehicles with proper Handicap Parking Credentials will be complimentary just outside the doors of North Hall, the main venue for Annual Conference events.  Other lots surrounding the Von Braun Center have a charge ranging from $4 to $7 a day. If paid parking creates a hardship for you, please contact your District Office for assistance.
 

Reservations deadline is May 15

You will need to take action prior to Annual Conference to...
  • purchase meal tickets
  • request special accommodations for disabilities
  • request childcare for your child or grandchild
  • purchase annual conference t-shirts
Annual Conference participants are encouraged to eat at the Von Braun Center for convenience, efficiency and the opportunity for more fellowship.  There will be a Cafeteria with a buffet line each lunch and dinner break.  Also, during meal breaks, there are groups who choose to gather for a special meal.
 
You must pre-purchase a ticket for the Cafeteria or a Special Meal.  In order to be good stewards of Conference funds, there will be no extra meal tickets available for purchase on-site. Please observe the May 15 deadline to make your meal reservations.
 
The North Alabama Conference Lay Ministry Team invites everyone—laity and clergy—to attend the Laity Luncheon on Monday, June 6 in East Hall 2, immediately following the morning plenary session. The Laity Luncheon is a long-standing tradition of the North Alabama Conference and a great way to celebrate the connection. This year’s speaker for the luncheon is Dr. Jan Davis, a retired astronaut, who spent more than 670 hours in space as a mission specialist and participated in three space shuttle flights, during which she orbited the Earth 325 times. The seated meal will feature a menu of house salad, top sirloin steak, roasted potatoes, green beans, rolls, iced tea, water, coffee and dessert. Tickets are $19 and must be purchased at www.umcna.org/ac16reservations by May 15.
 

Hotels

A variety of hotels are offering special rates during Annual Conference 2016. To make hotel reservations, please contact the hotel directly and identify yourself as a North Alabama Annual Conference attendee when you make your reservation. You may reserve online by following individual links at our website: www.umcna.org/ac16hotels. Reservation cut-off date is May 15, 2016.
 

Kids' Camp and Childcare

Kids’ Camp is a great opportunity to involve your children in Annual Conference. Children from birth through those who have completed sixth grade are welcome to participate if a parent, grandparent or legal guardian is in attendance at Annual Conference. Annual Conference Kids’ Camp will be staffed by professional children’s ministers as well as volunteer staff. All staff and volunteers will be trained in Safe Sanctuary policies and have up-to-date background checks. You must register online at www.umcna.org/ac16kidscamp. The cost is $50 per child and includes meals, snacks and a t-shirt. Registration deadline is May 15, 2016.
 
The Children’s Ministry Team will also offer childcare for $5 per child during all Annual Conference worship services. Preregistration is not required. For more information go to www.umcna.org/ac16kidscamp.

Worship

This year’s Annual Conference will be a 48-hour worship experience. Below are some special acts of worship the Conference will experience together.
  • Opening Worship - Rev. Jorge Acevedo, preaching
    Sunday, June 5, 2016 • 4 p.m. • North Hall
     
  • Prayer Experience - Bishop Young Jin Cho
    Monday, June 6, 2016 • 8:30 a.m. • North Hall
    Tuesday, June 7, 2016 • 8:30 a.m. • North Hall
     
  • Memorial Service - Rev. Lynn Dimon, preaching
    Monday, June 6, 2016 • 2 p.m. • North Hall
     
  • Service of Ordination, Commissioning and Licensing - Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett, preaching
    Monday, June 6, 2016 • 7 p.m • Trinity United Methodist Church
     
  • Closing and Sending Forth Service - Rev. Jorge Acevedo, preaching
    Tuesday, June 7, 2016 • 2 p.m. • North Hall
 

Bazillion Book Drive

The 2016 North Alabama Annual Conference mission project is being led by the Conference Ministry with the Poor Operational Team. The team has created a project allowing each North Alabama local church to make a difference in the lives of children in their local community—not just during the three days of Annual Conference, but year round! The mission project is called the Bazillion Book Drive.
 
The goal is to collect as many new children’s books as we can to be given to agencies, churches and other groups working with children third grade and younger who are in under-resourced communities or who are living below the poverty line. Prior to Annual Conference churches will work together at the District level to collect new children’s books and make connections with agencies and ministries in their local communities working with under-resourced children.  Local churches and Districts will give their donated, new books to local agencies.  This project and the new ministry connections it brings will be celebrated during Annual Conference.
 

Don’t miss

Annual Conference is a great opportunity to catch up with long-time friends and to make new connections. Also, make sure you visit the following:
 
The Prayer Team is developing experiential prayer activities for Annual Conference attendees.  These will be available just outside of North Hall in the Prayer Chapels.  Prayer activities include a prayer labyrinth for walking and praying, rocking chairs and prayer shawls to experience the comfort prayer brings, a worktable with supplies and instructions for making and using protestant prayer beads, and a variety of materials to encourage participants to “play and pray” through artistic expression.
 
The Cokesbury Christian Book Store will be located on the second floor of North Hall in Salon 2. Stairs and an elevator to the second floor are conveniently located in the North Hall Foyer.
 
Mission Displays will be located in the North Hall Foyer throughout Annual Conference, offering an opportunity to learn more about education and mission opportunities for your local church. Mission Displays feature different groups of North Alabama Conference Advance Specials, institutions, ministries and affiliated seminaries.
 
Every even-numbered year the Annual Conference produces a clergy pictorial directory. The pictorial directory is an important tool in keeping the connection in the North Alabama Conference. Every clergyperson is expected to have an individual picture taken for inclusion in the directory. This year’s directory will be produced by Lifetouch. Photographs will be taken on the second floor of the Foyer of North Hall. Each clergyperson photographed will receive a free directory.
 


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