One, two, three, four more days on the countdown clock before the opening worship of the 2020 Virtual Michigan Annual Conference. These are the steps to take to be ready July 26 at 7pm.
Last week the members of the 2020 Michigan Annual Conference received materials they need for participation in the event that will begin online in four days. Bishop David Bard notes on the first page of the program guide: “Last year, directly following my greeting, I wrote: ‘What a difference a year makes.’ I could add three exclamation points this year.” The bishop, who will soon preside at his fourth annual conference session, continues: “We were anticipating engaging in some challenging work as a follow-up to General Conference 2020. No one imagined that General Conference 2020 would move to 2021 or that we would be meeting for our annual conference virtually due to a pandemic.”
That technologically-assisted Annual Conference session is set to begin on Sunday, July 26. The experience will span three days. Here’s an overview of how the time will be spent. A detailed schedule may be found here.
- Sunday, July 26 — Opening Worship and Memorial Service begins at 7 pm with Bishop Bard preaching
- Monday, July 27 — 9:30 am Opening devotions with Brad Kalajainen | 10:00 am to 12:30 Plenary One | 12:30 pm Lunch break with connectional videos | 1:30 to 4:00 pm Plenary Two | 4:00 to 4:30 pm Closing Worship
- Tuesday, July 28 — 9:30 am to 12:30 pm Clergy Session
Members of the Annual Conference will join these sessions by ZOOM webinar or by phone. Others may view the Sunday and Monday sessions on the Michigan Conference Facebook page or at 2020.michiganumc.org. Sessions will also be recorded for viewing at a later time. Viewers who are not members may follow along with materials found here.
A Countdown Check List for Conference Members:
- Do you have your Program Guide, Ballot, and envelope for voting? If no, contact Registrar Sarah Vollmer as soon as possible, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lay Members, if you have not already done so, please register now for the ZOOM webinar of the Sunday and Monday Session. Clergy Members, please register for both the ZOOM webinar for Sunday/Monday and the ZOOM webinar for Tuesday’s Clergy Session now. Instructions for registration are found on page 4 of the Program Guide. A telephone option is also available for participation Sunday and Monday.
- All Members should plan to attend one of the two rehearsals: Wednesday, July 22, 7 pm or Sunday, July 26, 4 pm. These 30-minute practice sessions will familiarize members with ZOOM, available support, and the voting procedure. Register to attend training in the link that will be emailed to you.
Bishop Bard concludes his remarks in the Program Guide with some regrets. “Annual Conference is very different this year. I will miss handshakes and hugs. We meet virtually to conduct our necessary business in a way that also cares for public health.” He also issues an invitation. “The most important work, though, remains the work of our congregations and ministry settings in making disciples of Jesus Christ so that people can be different and so that the world can be different — more caring, compassionate, kind, loving, and patient in this time of pandemic and beyond.”