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Hosts in Tampa area stand ready to serve

The Rev. Jim Harnish, pastor of Hyde Park UMC in Tampa, Fla., likes to say that “people who live in Tampa are always happy to welcome people to Tampa.” And he’s counting on that. As chairperson of the host committee for General Conference this year, Dr. Harnish and his team are in the process of […]

2012 is first cookie-free General Conference

For the first time since anyone can remember, General Conference is strictly BYOC—bring your own cookies, according to the conference’s business manager, the Rev. Alan J. Morrison. At past General Conferences—nobody’s sure how many—local volunteers have baked homemade cookies for delegates to enjoy during breaks at General Conference. This year, however, the Commission on the […]

Four steps toward vitality in our denomination

By Adam Hamilton ••• Special Contributor As an aside, I don’t believe that restructuring the general boards is the key to having a future with hope; I see it as an opportunity to more effectively do the work of the church. This is more than rearranging the proverbial “deck chairs on the Titanic” but if […]

Q&A: Planning the Act of Repentance

History has not been kind to the 32 million indigenous peoples in the world, according to the Rev. Stephen Sidorak Jr., but he hopes that United Methodists can begin a process that helps create change for the future at General Conference 2012 in Tampa.

A brief history of General Conference sessions

Each General Conference has its story and its record of accomplishment. Associate editor Bill Fentum offers a boiled-down look at each one since 1968, when the United Methodist Church was formed.

Will restructuring of the UMC cut vital ministry?

Agency restructuring. Ending guaranteed appointment. Those are just some of the big issues confronting General Conference 2012.

Separating truths, myths about Call to Action

By Bishop Gregory Palmer ••• Special Contributor There is a myth that the Call to Action started with discussions by UMC leaders in 2008. But the truth is that it originated when the Wesleys first began organizing the people called Methodists for the work of personal and social holiness. From its inception, the movement that […]

A beginner’s guide to ‘speaking Methodist’

The United Methodist Church doesn’t lack for obscure terms or for acronyms, including “UMC.” And the verbiage has gotten thicker as General Conference 2012, with its many reform proposals, draws near. For those who want to be able to “speak Methodist” during the big event, here’s a glossary that might prove helpful: Adaptive Challenge—The term […]

Q&A: Choosing symbols for worship at GC 2012

Marcia McFee will be worship and music director for General Conference 2012. In a Q&A with staff writer Mary Jacobs, Ms. McFee shared how she’s planning for the big event and what to expect.

WiFi presents challenges for Conference planners

For those who can’t travel to Tampa for General Conference 2012, technology will offer United Methodists an array of ways to connect—by way of smartphones, iPads and computers—and to join in the worldwide conversation as decisions are considered and made. For those delegates and visitors inside the Tampa Convention Center, however, getting access to the […]