Guide to Annual Conference 2018


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Annual Conference 2018 theme: Servant Leaders Making a Difference

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace and in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10

There will be some variations to the Annual Conference process and format in 2018. Be sure to share this information within districts and local churches to ensure that first-time attendees as well as long-time veterans of Annual Conference will know what to expect June 15-17, 2018 in Hampton, Va. 

Great Day of Service

Following the Mission Service on Saturday, June 16, Bishop Lewis is asking all clergy and lay members to participate in a Great Day of Service from 2 to 5 p.m. This event will be broken into three sections: ministry within the City of Hampton, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) kit building in the convention center, and presentations on social justice issues at the convention center. Each clergy and lay member will be asked to sign up for one of these activities prior to Annual Conference. Registration is forthcoming. Each participant will receive a T-shirt to be worn during the Great Day of Service. How will you help create an impact on the Hampton Roads area with your service? Below are the three service options: 
Ministry in Hampton Roads area (off-site): There will be two primary areas of work to accomplish outside the convention center: clean up and Block Walks. 
Clean up: This area involves the physical labor of pruning, digging and the removal of debris from historical cemeteries and children’s parks. Also included is the removal of debris from several alleyways in the Hampton Roads community, around some of the schools and a youth community center. In the event of bad weather or extreme heat, there will be indoor activities, such as painting, in the area schools and youth center. 
Block Walks: Working with several departments within the City of Hampton, volunteers will be handed a distribution packet to be delivered to the residents in targeted neighborhoods within the city.
The purpose is two-fold. 
1. To make a personal contact having a face-to-face interaction with people in the neighborhood in order to offer support through a caring presence that may address needs they may have with contact information, a listening ear and, if invited, to offer prayer.
2. To make a brief general assessment of the person’s well-being that if needed can be reported back to the city public health contact person. (There will be a brief orientation to all volunteers by the city to assist in this assessment.) 
• UMCOR Kit building (Convention Center): There will be three stations set up in the convention center to build hygiene kits for UMCOR. Each station will hold eight to 12 people per shift and all of the material will be provided. The kits will then be packed, taped and placed on shipping pallets and loaded on a truck. Each shift of people can take breaks after 15-30 minutes. The goal is to build 3,000 kits.
• Social justice presentations (Convention Center): There will be three separate social justice issues addressed at the convention center. Each presentation will last 45 minutes and will feature a Q&A portion. Each person who signs up for this option can attend all three talks.
Great Day of Service flyer (pdf)
Great Day of Service flyer (jpg)

Annual Conference Schedule

To accommodate the Great Day of Service and complete the business of the Annual Conference, the schedule of Annual Conference will be new in 2018. Annual Conference will begin Friday, June 15 at 10:30 a.m. with the clergy and laity sessions. The opening session of annual conference will begin after lunch at 2 p.m. The Friday afternoon session will also be extended an extra 30 minutes to 5:30 p.m. before the recess for dinner. 

Housing information

Clergy and laity Annual Conference members should be aware that the Annual Conference Housing letter will be handled differently this year. No hard copy letters will be sent by mail. All letters will be emailed to members at the email address the conference has on file for them (active clergy will receive the letter at their address.) The letter will also be posted on the conference website at  The letter will be posted and emailed on Feb. 1, 2018. Hotels, however, will not be taking reservations until Monday, Feb. 12 at 10 a.m. Clergy and district staff should make any lay member who does not have an email address on file aware of this and provide them with a copy of the letter. This change in process will allow all annual conference members to receive the letter and review their choices prior to making their reservations.

Daily Advocate 

At the 2018 Annual Conference, due to increased printing costs and a tighter Annual Conference session, there will be no Daily Advocate. This small publication is a one page (front and back) handout given out at the beginning of each day. The Communications Office is aware that members typically use these sheets to report Annual Conference news back to their churches. Every year, Madeline Pillow, Director of Communications and Advocate editor, creates a report for the United Methodist News Service the following Monday or Tuesday after Annual Conference. Conference attendees will receive this report as an aid for their local church reports by their email. This report will also be posted on ClergyNet and LaityNet, the conference website and social media. 


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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
(804) 521-1100
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