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Annual Conference



Pre-Conference Workshops

Optional learning opportunities are available on Wednesday, June 10, prior to the formal start of conference. Minnesotans interested in attending a workshop must sign up for the 10-11:30 a.m. time slot. These workshops are open to all, not just those attending conference. You can sign up for a workshop during your registration.

Accessibility and Inclusivity in Churches and Sunday School: Welcoming everyone includes making our spaces accessible to those with physical and developmental differences. This session offers practical applications, especially on how to engage children of all abilities in Sunday school and worship. Led by Debby Newman, North Central Jurisdiction representative and communications chairperson to the National Disability Ministries Committee.

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Church-School Partnerships: A growing number of churches are serving children and reconnecting with their communities through partnerships with a local school. Parents everywhere care about their children’s education. Rev. Lyndy Zabel, Minnesota Conference director of community engagement, will lead this workshop, which focuses on Jake McGlothin’s book “The Mission-Minded Guide to Church and School Partnerships.” Each participant will receive a copy of the book and also learn how to access conference funding for start-up costs.
Farm Crisis and the Role of Clergy and Laity: The farm economy is in crisis, and clergy and laity in rural communities often find themselves serving as the de-facto mental health providers. This session will begin with an overview of the farm crisis and the implications on mental well-being for farmers. Participants will then shift gears to develop their own mental health resource toolkit that is unique to their setting, including developing awareness for when to refer people to counseling and learning about its importance. Led by Tom Allen with LeaderWise.
Healthy Couples = Happy Community: Clergy are often considered relationship experts. You can use that skill to bless your community by providing support for and equipping couples who want their relationship to stay strong. When marriages are healthy, a community is healthier and happier. This workshop will provide field-tested strategies you can use. Led by Ben Ingebretson, Dakotas-Minnesota Area director of new church development.
Hopeful EarthKeepers: Learn how United Methodists are coming together for the work of creation care, justice, and regeneration. Find out about opportunities in the EarthKeepers program of Global Ministries, as well as the larger creation justice movement in The United Methodist Church. We will share stories of connection and explore how our faith calls us to act in response to climate change. Led by Rev. Susan Mullin, a deacon in Minnesota.
Missing and Murdered Native American Women: Nationwide, more than 5,700 Native American women were reported missing in 2016. Rates of violence against women in such indigenous communities are up to 10 times higher than the national average. Activists say the problem persists in Minnesota and the Dakotas. Hear stories, gather facts, and determine ways to advocate in your own community for our sisters whose lives are in danger. Hosted by the Dakotas-Minnesota Committee on Native American Ministry, Commission on the Status and Role of Women, and United Methodist Women.
Prison Ministry: This workshop will identify the importance of prison ministry, common misconceptions that those who go to prison and are released into society have within the church, and how the church interacts with them. We will also explore how we can support prison ministries, halfway houses, and the goal of fostering discipleship and relationship with inmates and those on parole, as well as the role we play as the body of Christ with those who are released. Led by Rev. Derek Runge, who serves Kimball Protestant Parish in Kimball, South Dakota.

Thursday Lunch

This meal is being structured to offer three levels of interaction.  Note:  A buffet lunch will be provided for all attendees.

  1. General meal in the arena for those wishing to visit, eat, relax
  2. Networking opportunities where folks with similar intersts can gather in spaces around the outsie of the arena.  Participants will get their plates at the buffets in the arena and head to a disignated area.
  3. Lunch-and-Learns will be offered in the meeting rooms of the convention center.  A host will offer a 10-15 presentation, and participants will then share ideas and wisdome.  Pre-registration is recommended as space is limited.

Lunch-and-Learn Topics

  • Connecting to Your Community:  Beyond Your Doors
  • How to Talk to One Another Accross Differences
  • Intentional Faith Formation/Walk to Emmaus
  • Live Streaming Worship
  • Making Worhip More Spiritually Dynamic
  • Ministry in Changing Communities/Engaging in Multi-Cultural Contexts
  • Missions:  From Sending Money to Building Relationships
  • Re-Thinking Children's Ministry/Sunday School
  • Stewarship Strategies
  • Thinking Differently About Leader Development
  • Vital Rural Churches

Special Interest Gatherings

These gatherings are optional or are for specific groups of people:

  • Minnesota Methodists (this is a grassroots movement working for an inclusive form of Methodism that is rooted in Jesus, grounded in Wesleyan theology, inclusive of all persons, and engaged in the work of justice and reconcilitation):  Dinner, Thursday, 5 p.m.
  • Wesleyan Covenant Association (a group that connects orthodox churches of Wesleyan theology and their members):  Dinner, Thursday, 5 p.m.
  • Non-Profit Church Leadership Certificate Program (a time for clergy graduates of the 2019 Nonprofit Church Leadership Program at Dakota Wesleyan University to connect and share stories of impact):  Dinner, Thursday, 5 p.m.
  • Minnesota clergy with new appointments (a time for all Minnesota clergy entering new appointments to be welcomed, get to know one another, and learn about how the conference will walk with them during their transition):  Breakfast, Friday, 6:30 a.m.
  • Reconciling Ministries (this group equips and mobilizes United Methodists to resist evil, injustice, and oppression while seeking justice for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities):  Breakfast, Friday, 6:30 a.m.
  • United Methodist Women (advocates for the oppressed and dispossessed with special needs of women, children, and youth; works to build a supportive community among women; and helps foster rowth in the Christian faith, mission education, and Christian social involvement):  Breakfast, Friday, 6:30 a.m.
  • Fun Run/Walk (tentative):  Friday, 6:30-7:30 a.m.

Mission Displays

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A number of mission agencies will have informational displays up during the conference. Take the opportunity to explore all that they have to offer. For information or to reserve a table, contact Diane Weller.

Conference Orientation

Recommended for newcomers to conference session, this is an opportunity to hear what to expect, find out how legislation is handled, and learn about the budget and other proposed legislation. The orientation for Minnesota folks will be Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. (lunch will be provided). There is no fee; pre-registration is appreciated. Select the option in the Wednesday section of registration.

Clergy Health Screenings

Active clergy enrolled in HealthFlex need to make appointments for Blueprint for Wellness screenings available on-site during annual conference. Information is being sent directly to plan participants. Retirees on the Conference Supplement Plan will need to contact Leanne Stunes (Dakotas) or Jean Edin (Minnesota) for a screening appointment.

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Midwest Mission Distribution Center Collection

Kits or supplies for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) can be brought to the collection site at the convention center. They will be taken to the Midwest Mission Distribution Center in Illinois and then distributed around the world where they are needed most.

Prayer/Quiet Room

A space for prayer, mothers needing a private spot, or anyone needing a moment to regroup is available in Meeting Room 11. 

Child Care

  • Daytime child care is available for infants through children age 12.  Care will be provided at Sioux Falls Asbury UMC (2425 Western Ave.), which is located less than three miles from the convention center.  Children will be in age-appropriate groups, and older children may go on field trips.  There will be further communication directly to families enrolled.  Registration for daytime childcare is parto of the participant registration form.
  • Evening/worship childcare is available at worship service locations on a drop-in basis.  Wednesday and Friday evening worhip service locations on a drop-in basis.  Wednesday and Friday evening worship services are at Sioux Falls First UMC.  Thursday worship is at the convention center.


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