OKUMC announces updates to 2020 Annual Conference
Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent on June 1.
Dear Members of the 2020 Annual Conference:
This is the third time we have written to you with updates related to our upcoming annual conference session. These words from John the Solitary in the fifth century seem timely, “Do not make hard and fast decisions over anything in the future … decide in whatever matters you have to reach a decision, but without fixing in your mind that you will not be moved to other things.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered our lives and most certainly our plans in ways we could have never imagined just a few months ago. As of this writing, nearly 6,350 of our friends and neighbors have been infected with this horrible virus and over 325 people have lost their lives. Our churches, communities and families are forever changed by the coronavirus.
This letter is to inform you of our most recent plans for conducting this year’s session of annual conference.
Based on Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi where he writes, “Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others,” Oklahomans will gather for the 177th time since Methodism was established in Oklahoma. This letter contains all the information you will need to get registered and prepared for the gathering.
A November meeting
It is now necessary to cancel the June meeting we announced a few weeks ago. There will be no conference business conducted on June 20.
We now plan to meet on Friday, Nov. 20 and Saturday, Nov. 21 at Church of the Servant in Oklahoma City. This decision was made in the best interest of all who might be attending conference. Please note, if you cannot attend the session, it will be live-streamed.
Friday, November 20
- Registration from 1 to 6 p.m.
- Clergy and laity sessions at 3 p.m.
- Retiree banquet at 4:30 p.m.
- Pre-worship concert at 6:30 p.m. followed by Retirement, Commissioning and Ordination Service
Saturday, November 21
- Registration from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
- Business Session from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
- Lunch not included on site
- Memorial Worship at 1 p.m.
- Business Session from 2:15 p.m. until conclusion
At the heart of United Methodism is worship and we will do that for sure! We will include Memorial Worship as well as Retirement, Commissioning and Ordination in our short weekend gathering. Bishop Nunn will preach at the Retirement, Commissioning and Ordination service. Northern Prairie District Superintendent Tish Malloy will be the memorial service preacher. Come ready to worship and sing. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus situation, we will not have a service of Holy Communion at this year’s conference.
Children and Youth Care
Because of these unknowns, for this year only, we will not be offering child or youth care during the sessions. There will be a nursery available for the worship service on Friday evening.
Youth Members of Conference
We will continue to provide coordination for the youth members of our annual conference and celebrate their presence and leadership at our meeting.
Even though the meeting is not occurring until November, we need you to register as soon as possible. You can do that at the annual conference information hub – okumc.org/annual_conference.
Retirees will receive a stipend for attending conference as is our usual custom. The annual retirement banquet will take place on the evening of and immediately prior to the retirement worship service. A separate letter will be sent to retirees.
This year’s Conference offering will go in support of our Disaster Response efforts currently working largely in the north-eastern quadrant of our state. The result of the extensive flooding events in 2019, plus a few tornadoes, Oklahoma is once again rising to the task of restoring some 1,200 families to dry and safe homes. UMCOR is supporting us as always, but the funding they are able to give is substantially down from previous disasters, due to many other events that require their assistance. Our staff is hard at work case managing the affected families and volunteers are already signing up to help. But, to help them all, it is estimated the combined efforts of all the supporting agencies are some $2 million short!
Churches are asked to take up a special offering in each church prior to Conference and to bring those gifts to add to the offering taken during the course of Conference.
We know you will have questions. Please direct those to the email address email@example.com and we will get those answered as quickly as we can. As you might imagine, this is a changing situation and we will have to remain in contact with one another until we make our way through it.
Conference information hub
You will find every piece of information you need at our website – okumc.org/annual_conference. The draft agenda and the Pre-Conference Workbook have been uploaded for your viewing. Download the Conference materials and bring your digital device with you to Conference.
As we say in one of our creeds. “God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.”
Grace and peace,
Bishop Jimmy Nunn
Rev. Derrek Belase – Director of Connectional Ministries & Conference Agenda Secretary
Rev. Dr. Joe Harris – Director of Communication, Assistant to the Bishop, Conference Secretary & Statistician
Randy Compton – Interim Treasurer