The Uniting Conference

A time for Uniting Methodists to gather to prepare for sharing the vision and action plans in their churches and annual conferences.

This is a 2-day event running Monday, November 13 (noon – 9 pm) and Tuesday, November 14 (8 am – noon). Join us for this time of worship, teaching, and small group conversations around the Uniting Methodists mission and vision.

The conference will be hosted by Impact Church on Sylvan in Atlanta, Georgia (see a map).

Speakers Include…

David Field

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Jasmine R. Smothers

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Michael Slaughter

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Ginger Gaines-Cirelli

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Olu Brown

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Stan Copeland

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Jason Wellman

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Melissa Maher

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Conference Schedule

Nov. 13: 1 pm – 9 pm (Eastern Standard Time)

  • Conference Opening & Greeting: 1 – 1:30 pm
    • Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson, Resident Bishop NG Annual Conference
    • Episcopal Greeting
  • Opening Worship: 1:30 – 2:30 pm
    • Jasmine Smothers, Lead Pastor of Atlanta First UMC and Member of Commission on a Way Forward
  • Break: 2:30 – 2:40 pm
  • Learning Session, Part I: 2:40 – 3:40 pm
    • Guest Lecturer David N. Field, author of Bid Our Jarring Conflicts Cease: A Wesleyan Theology and Praxis of Church Unity and Our Purpose is Love: The Wesleyan Way to Be the Church (available May 2018)
  • Break: 3:40 – 4:00 pm
  • Looking Ahead: 4:00 – 5:00 pm
    • Panel: Tom Berlin (Lead Pastor of Floris UMC and Member of Commission on the Way Forward), Neil Alexander (President and Publisher Emeritus, UMPH), Jasmine Smothers (Lead Pastor of Atlanta First UMC and Member of Commission on the Way Forward)
  • Break: 5:00 – 5:15 pm
  • Here I Stand Talks: 5:15 – 6:15 pm (15 minutes each)
    • Rev. Melissa Maher, Community Pastor of Mercy Street UMC
    • Rev. Jason Wellman, Lead Pastor of Scioto UMC
    • Rev. Stan Copeland, Senior Pastor of Lovers Lane UMC
  • Break: 6:15 – 6:30 pm
  • Dinner and Small Group Break Out Session 1: 6:30 – 8:30 pm
    • Small Group Break Out Session and Facilitator Todd Anderson (DS of the Ohio River Valley District, West Ohio Annual Conference)
    • Reflection Questions:
      • What have you heard that has been most compelling?
      • What have you heard that gives you caution?
      • What impact do you hope the Uniting Methodists Movement will have upon our church during this season?
      • What impact do you hope the Uniting Methodists Movement will have upon the future of our church (beyond 2020)?
      • What are your hopes for this time together?
    • Closing Time: Centered on 1-2 hopes from each group for the UMC and our time together.
  • Small Group Talk Out Session 1: 8:30 – 9:00 pm
  • Day 1 Session Ends: 9:00 pm

Nov. 14: 8 am – noon (Eastern Standard Time)

  • Gathering (breakfast provided): 8:00 – 8:15 am
  • Morning Worship: 8:15 – 9:00 am
    • Mike Slaughter, Former Pastor of Ginghamsburg UMC
  • Break: 9:00 – 9:15 am
  • Learning Session, Part II: 9:10 – 10:10 am
    • Guest Lecturer David N. Field, author of Bid Our Jarring Conflicts Cease: A Wesleyan Theology and Praxis of Church Unity and Our Purpose is Love: The Wesleyan Way to Be the Church (available May 2018)
  • Break: 10:10 – 10:20 am
  • Small Group Break Out Session 2: 10:20 – 11:30 am
    • Facilitators: Candace Lewis (DS of the Gulf Central District, Florida Annual Conference) and Melissa Drake (Field Outreach Minister of the SW District, Iowa Annual Conference)
    • Theme: We assemble for inspiration and to acquire tools we’ll use to share the compelling vision of unity in Christ and diversity in community as we return to our churches and annual conferences to build networks of support for a vital witness to embrace our future as the United Methodist Church.
    • 20 Minutes:
      • Small groups of 8-10 people around tables (self-selected) discuss the theme.
      • How do we engage laity in the movement?
      • How do we build connections with Central Conference United Methodists (especially delegates)?
      • How do we create conversations with persons on the right, left, and center in search of common ground?
    • 5 Minutes: Transition
    • 20 Minutes:
      • Reporting from the second small groups to respond to the following questions:
      • What excites or encourages you about growing the movement as you prepare to go back to your place of service?
      • Give one or two concrete examples (per group) of ways you plan to spread the movement.
  • Donate to the Movement Offering Appeal
    • Online & In-Person: Jim Harnish (Former Pastor of Hyde Park UMC)
  • Conference Close & Wesley Covenant Service: 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
    • Ginger Gaines-Cerilli, Lead Pastor of Foundry UMC
    • Justin Coleman, Senior Pastor of University UMC – Chapel Hill
  • Closing Remarks & Next Steps: 12:30 – 1:00 pm
    • Neil Alexander, President and Publisher Emeritus, UMPH
  • Day 2 Session Ends: 1:00 pm

For those who are unable to be in Atlanta in person, we have a small group resource guide available to help facilitate group discussion.