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Annual Conference

Workshops and Learning Opportunities

Seven different learning sessions were presented during the 2024 Dakotas Annual Conference. 

Lunch and Learn Sessions, Thursday, June 6, 2024, 12-1 p.m.

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Discussion and interaction during the learning sessions at annual conference. Photos by jlynn studios.

Asset-based community development, Cindy Heidelberger, presenter — In Genesis, our God created the heavens and the earth and all living things and called them "good.”  Additionally, God created human beings and declared them, "very good".  There are issues that each community, congregation, and ministry encounter that need addressing. Did you know that you and the people who fill your communities and pews are "very good"?  This session will help identify the assets that already exist for each ministry through a theological application of Asset Based Community Development.  You, your ministries, your communities are very good—let's uncover all the ways! Watch video here.

Safe Sanctuary,
 Beata Ferris and Brenda Lint, presenters— It has been 25 years since congregations were introduced to the concept of Safe Sanctuary - the protection of children, youth, and churches. This year Beata Ferris and Brenda Lint attended the new updated Safer Sanctuary training event. It is time for congregations to evaluate policies and training practices to stay in line with best practices. This workshop will give the background, share the history, and share the General Conferences expectations regarding Safer Sanctuary. Every pastor and church should attend or host a training regarding Safer Sanctuary. Beata and Brenda are available to assist congregations as they train, look into existing policies, and/or create policies. Join them as they dive into what has changed and what are the current expectations. Watch video here.

Lunch and Learn Sessions, Friday, June 7, 2024, 12-1 p.m.

Fresh Expressions, panel presentation facilitated by Rev. Dan Bader
—Inspired by the teaching and trainings over the past year as well as the movement of the Holy Spirit, many churches across the Dakotas are experimenting with innovative ways to be in ministry in new places and with new people. Join us as a panel of leaders share their Fresh Expressions joys and challenges and facilitate creative brainstorming for how you can join this Kingdom work in your own context. Watch the recording here.

Discipleship systems, Rev. Katie Ricke and Rev. Jordan Louks, presenters
Accomplishing our mission ‘To Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World’ doesn’t just happen. It takes intentionality and commitment. A Discipleship Pathway can be a great tool for current members, as well as newcomers, to help them grow as followers of Jesus. Reverends Katie Ricke and Jordan Louks will share some of the ways in which they have worked with their leaders and churches to design a process and pathway that works for their congregations and invite you to share and learn from others about tools and practices that might work for your context. Watch the recording here.

Workshops, Friday, June 7, 2024, 1:15-2:15 p.m.

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Learning together at annual conference.

Green teams, panel presentation facilitated by Rev. Marty Toepke Floyd—In 2023, the Dakotas Conference passed legislation to encourage churches to establish Green Teams and/or take intentional steps to advance the efforts of creation care in their churches through worship, education, advocacy, or practice. Several churches and leaders in our Conference are taking this call to active discipleship seriously. This workshop panel will provide ideas and tools for churches of all sizes to take the next step in caring for all of God’s creation. This workshop will prepare you to attend the EarthKeepers training in Minneapolis, September 19-22, 2024. Watch video here.

Things we’re learning in rural ministry
, panel presentation facilitated by Al Roll—As the landscape of ministry changes, accomplishing our mission in our rural contexts presents unique challenges. But it also presents opportunities for innovation and a revitalization of a pioneering spirit. This workshop will include a panel of leaders from some of our Dakotas Connection Initiative projects who will be sharing their stories and what they’re learning. It will also be an interactive session where we hope to engage in conversation and connection and learn about other rural ministry settings where the Spirit is on the move! See the recorded workshop here.

Building relational bridges with our Native American siblings, Rev. Susan Jennys—Rev. Dr. Susan Jennys will share some of the current challenges facing Indian Country in the Dakotas and steps we can take to build bridges, relationships, and opportunities for ministry. Watch the recording of Rev. Dr. Jennys' workshop here.


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