UM Men plan national gathering this summer

By J. Richard Peck, Special Contributor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—United Methodist leaders expect 4,000 men to attend the 11th national gathering of United Methodist Men, this summer in Nashville.

Meeting Jan. 7 in Jacksonville, the 22-member committee set final plans for the July 12-14 quadrennial meeting at Belmont University.

Speakers for the gathering include Don Davis, former member of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, now serving as regional director of the NFL Players Association; Mississippi Area Bishop James Swanson, president of the General Commission on United Methodist Men; the Rev. Shane Bishop, senior pastor of Christ UMC in Fairview Heights, Ill., a church that increased membership from 200 in 2009 to 1,000 in 2012; and David Delk, president of Man in the Mirror Ministries in Orlando, Fla.

The Rev. Shane Bishop, senior pastor of Christ UMC in Fairview Heights, Ill., will be among speakers at the quadrennial gathering of United Methodist Men, July 12-14 at Belmont University in Nashville. PHOTO COURTESY THE FOUNDATION FOR EVANGELISM

The theme of the event will be “From the Inside Out,” words from a song performed on the CD Into the Light by Phil Stacey, one of the five finalists on season six of the American Idol television show. The song is a prayer for Christ to change us from the inside out. The Nashville public will be invited to his concert on Saturday evening, July 13.

Richard Alegria, former president of the Rio Grande Conference United Methodist Men, will be the accompanist, and his son, Andrew Alegria, will serve as the choral director.

Participants will be invited to attend two of 17 workshops on topics that include “Men’s Health,” “Faith Sharing,” “What Women Wish Men Knew about Women and Spirituality,” “Sexual Sanity and Addictions,” “Freed Up Financial,” “When Twitter Meets Scripture” and “Conducting Prison Ministry.” A select crew will film, edit, upload, tweet, blog, interview and produce content to stream online.

Men at the gathering will also sack 40,000 pounds of produce provided through the Society of St. Andrew, package 100,000 Stop Hunger Now dehydrated food packets for emergency situations around the world and build hand-carts for people in Africa who have lost the use of their legs.

On Friday afternoon, July 12, two three-hour pre-event training experiences will be offered for men interested in men’s ministry or scouting ministry. The first event for everyone will be Friday evening and the weekend will end with worship and communion on Sunday morning.

For the first time, men will be invited to participate in a three-on-three half-court basketball tournament held on the Belmont campus. Men from the same church may enter teams in the under 40 and over 40 age competition. Winners of the tournament may claim they are national champions. Rules and brackets will be posted at

“Each year I seek out and attend many men’s conferences and events,” said the Rev. Mark Lubbock, a United Methodist pastor who serves as a part-time deployed staff member of the General Commission on United Methodist Men. “I can say without qualification that the line-up of the 11th National Gathering is absolutely world class. The caliber of the speakers, the quality of the breakout sessions and the music is head and shoulders above what you can find elsewhere.”

This is the second quadrennial conference to be held at Belmont University. Earlier gatherings were held at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

While this is the 11th national conference since the conclusion of World War II, earlier meetings of Methodist Men were held in Indianapolis after World War I.

For information on registration, visit or call (615) 340-7145.

The Rev. Peck is a retired clergy member of the New York Conference. He now edits UM Men Magazine.

Special Contributor to UMR

Special Contributor

This story was written by a special contributor to The United Methodist Reporter. You may send your article submissions to

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