Registration is now open for the 30th annual Dakotas Conference of The United Methodist Church session. The three-day event will occur at the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Convention Center. View the schedule.
The Dakotas Conference Sessions Committee invites you to experience powerful worship, rich learning opportunities in workshops and plenary sessions, and fellowship with United Methodists across North and South Dakota.
Drawing on Luke 24: 13-35, the theme of this year's gathering is Encounter. Transform. Respond: The Emmaus Experience. This is a post-resurrection story where everything has changed. The two men traveling on the road to Emmaus do not recognize the presence of Jesus as they journey together. Instead, they encounter the living Christ, are transformed, and respond by telling others. We, too, seek to encounter the living Christ. Even amidst the challenges of our world today, we seek to be transformed and respond by transforming the world.
People have been asking a few questions about this year's conference.
What will all happen at the annual conference?
Bishop Lanette Plambeck will preside and will deliver the 2023 Episcopal Address during opening worship on Thursday, June 8. Here are some other details for our time together.
Our guest speaker, Rev. Michael Beck, will offer practical ways that churches can connect to their communities and reach new people that are lay-led, low-cost, highly relational, and contextual. Beck co-pastors two Florida churches where he directs addiction recovery programs, a jail ministry, a food pantry, an interracial unity movement, and house a faith-based inpatient treatment center. The churches are traditional congregations and a network of 13 "fresh expressions" that gather in tattoo parlors, dog parks, salons, running tracks, community centers, burrito joints, and digital spaces. Beck is also director of re-missioning at Fresh Expressions, an organization that makes space for church leaders to use both traditional services as well as innovative forms of church to live out Christ's mission, the idea being that one does not replace the other, but instead creates a mutual benefit for both—a "mixed economy of church." Get more details here.
Lunch and learn sessions will be held on Thursday, June 8, and Friday, June 9. You will also be able to catch some of the same presentations on Friday, June 9, during the workshops. Access more details about the sessions.
The 2022-2023 Missional Report will highlight how we have been in ministry together and are seeking to follow, to engage, encounter, and respond. View last year's Missional Report here.
We will honor friends and colleagues who have died in the past year at a Celebration of Life in Ministry worship service on Friday evening. We will also celebrate our retiring clergy, clergy being commissioned, elders being ordained, newly-assigned licensed local pastors, and licensed local pastors completing their educational requirements.
Voting members will consider legislation during the session, including the ratification of disaffiliation agreements, the 2024 Budget Proposal, the Report of the Nominations Committee, the Board of Pensions Report, resolutions, and petitions. The 2023 Conference Workbook will be published online by May 22, 2023.
Will there be elections for delegates to the 2024 General Conference?
The United Methodist Church's highest court ruled that new delegate elections "are not required" for the long-delayed and potentially pivotal General Conference, now set for 2024. Read more here.
In 2019, the Dakotas Conference elected Kara Heagel as the lay delegate and Rev. Rebecca Trefz as the clergy delegate to General Conference. Elected as alternate delegates were Rev. Sara Nelson, clergy, and Beata Ferris, laity. This will be the Dakotas Conference delegation for the 2024 General Conference, scheduled for April 23-May 3, 2024, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
There will be elections for reserve lay delegates and one reserve clergy delegate to the North Central Jurisdiction Conference in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, July 10-13, 2024. If you would like to nominate a layperson or if you are a layperson who is willing to serve in this capacity, please submit a profile and photo that will be included in the Conference Workbook by Monday, May 1, 2022.
When and how do I register?
Registration is now open online here. You must register by Monday, May 22, 2022, at 5 p.m. CDT, to obtain voting privileges and attend one of the necessary pre-conference gatherings.
Why is there a registration fee?
The registration fee for members is $130. Non-voting clergy spouses and visitors can register and attend for a fee of $30 per day.
The fee covers the costs for the conference, including presenters' fees, charges for the technology platforms— including a new voting procedure with handheld devices, polling and presentation software, wi-fi, and other necessary production costs, support for each of the participants, and presenters, worship service expenses, as well as lunch on Thursday and Friday.
Can I watch everything on the livestream and not register?
All worship services and plenary sessions will be available to the general public via livestream on the Conference website. In addition, the lunch and learn sessions and the workshops will be recorded for viewing later.
What is the Pre-Conference Gathering, and why should I attend?
There will be four Pre-Conference Gathering sessions held virtually via Zoom webinar. These sessions will inform delegates about how voting will occur, the 2024 budget proposal, the nominations report, the consent calendar, and any other items in the Conference Workbook, published online by May 22. This will be an opportunity to discuss the legislation happening during the Conference. There will be little time during the actual session to discuss these issues. Participants must take this time to get their questions answered. Connection information will be sent via e-mail to each registered participant before your session.
Please register for one of these Pre-Conference Gatherings when you register for Annual Conference:
Will childcare be provided?
Childcare for children ages 0-10 years will be available during the Annual Conference 2023 at Asbury United Methodist Church in Sioux Falls. A nursery will also be available at First United Methodist Church during the Celebration of Life in Ministry service on Friday evening of the Conference. You can sign up for childcare through the Annual Conference registration form.
Do you have more questions?
You may still have some questions that need to answers. Please feel free to reach out to one of us. Here is a list of people and their roles for the Annual Conference.
Conference Secretary: Amber Laffey | e-mail
Worship: Lou Whitmer | e-mail
Agenda Coordinator: Duane Coates | e-mail
Registration, Lay Equalization: Susan Punt | e-mail
Event logistics, hotel reservations: Al Roll| e-mail