The Oklahoma Conference of The United Methodist Church
Annual Conference Council
1501 NW 24th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73106-3635
March 16, 2020
Dear Members of the 2020 Annual Conference,
This is a monumental year in so many ways for our country and our church. As of this writing, we do not know exactly what will happen with General Conference 2020 nor COVID-19 (the coronavirus). Things change daily…almost hourly. In light of that, this letter includes some very important information that will explain our process.
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 in some form 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.
Following is our plan to accomplish our Annual Conference in 2020:
- Meet on Wednesday, May 27 at St. Luke’s UMC in OKC for business and to remember, retire and commission clergy.
- If we cannot meet on Wednesday, May 27, we will meet on Saturday, June 20 at Church of the Servant in OKC with the same agenda.
- Meet on Friday, November 20 and Saturday, November 21 at Church of the Servant in OKC. We will approve the conference budget and ordain clergy at this meeting. If General Conference has occurred by this time, we will include that in the agenda as well.
This tiered schedule will allow us to cancel in time for all persons to be notified and to make alternative plans to get the business of the conference done in the most expedient, efficient and safe manner as possible.
We will make decisions regarding each event at least two weeks before. Therefore, if an event would be canceled, you would know by May 13 or June 5. We will use email, website and social media as platforms for communicating that news. Just as you are, we are monitoring all situations closely as we make these difficult decisions.
You may be asking, what will a schedule look like? Here is what we know today.
A May or June event would look like this:
- Registration from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- Clergy and Lay Sessions at 9 a.m.
- Memorial Worship at 10:30 a.m.
- Lunch not included on site
- Business from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
- Pre-worship concert at 7 p.m. followed by Retirement and Commissioning Worship Service
We will gather on the weekend of November 20 and 21 to conclude our annual meeting.
The schedule will look like this:
Friday, November 20
- Clergy session at 3:30 p.m.
- Pre-worship concert at 7 p.m. followed by Ordination Service
Saturday, November 21
- Registration from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
- Laity Session at 8 a.m.
- Business Session from 9 a.m. to noon
- Lunch not included on site
- An afternoon of business if necessary
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 regardless of when we have our meetings. Bishop Nunn will preach at the Ordination service and Northern Prairie D.S. Tish Malloy will be the memorial service preacher.
Will we have communion? We have not made that decision, but we will include it if it is safe to do so. We have purchased 1,000 pre-packaged communion kits if we have to do it that way.
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 Ordination and the Retirement/Commissioning worship services when they are held.
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.
All sessions will be live streamed from the locations we are meeting.
In the next few weeks, you will receive a registration link to make sure you have registered for the event. Please watch your email for that.
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.
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 – https://www.okumc.org/annual_conference. 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