General Conference Postponed to 2022

General Conference Postponed to 2022

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Commission on the General Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 25, 2021

Meeting on February 20, the Commission on the General Conference made a decision to further postpone the 2020 General Conference until August 29 – September 6, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minn. as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the safety of mass gatherings and travel.

It is the Commission’s responsibility to select the site and set the dates of General Conference. Further, the Book of Discipline requires the Commission on the General Conference to “take necessary measures to assure full participation of all General Conference delegates.” The Commission concluded that mandate was not achievable by means of either an in-person meeting in 2021 or a virtual meeting.

In making the decision, the Commission determined that it was not feasible to safely hold an in-person meeting involving all delegates as currently scheduled for August 29 – September 7, 2021 due to a number of barriers:

  • The number of COVID cases continues to rise, with nearly 2.49 million confirmed cases the week of February 15.
  • Vaccine is not expected to be widely available this year in many countries, and new variants of the virus which may be resistant to vaccines are emerging globally.
  • International travelers to the U.S. must show proof of negative COVID-19 test results no more than three days prior to travel, but in many places, testing is not readily available or provided free of charge.
  • Visa services remain limited in some areas.

There also remains the possibility that a temporary six-month visa bond program which requires bonds of $5,000 – $15,000 per person for residents of some countries could cost up to $2.5 million in bonds for affected delegates if the program should be extended beyond June.

The Commission’s decision was informed by the report of the Technology Study Team appointed to explore the implications of options for accommodating full participation at General Conference, including but not limited to the possibility of utilizing technology and online voting, in considering whether the meeting should be held virtually.

According to their report, “The study team considered a number of challenges and implications, including how to keep participants safe, providing for global participation, safeguarding the integrity of the voting and credentialing process, and meeting legal requirements …”

The Technology Study Team analyzed a variety of options, including an entirely electronic General Conference with participation from individual locations; an entirely electronic General Conference with delegates gathering at regional satellite hubs; and two sessions, with the first part being electronic and the second part in-person when it is safe to convene. None of these options were determined by the study team to be viable.

The study team did find that a more traditional method—utilizing mail ballots to vote on emergency actions—could help The United Methodist Church to address important, urgent matters through the General Conference. Their report recommended utilizing mail ballots for making a limited number of “Emergency Interim Actions” on which the General Conference delegates would indicate a yes or no vote for each item.

“The Commission shared the study team’s findings and recommendations with the officers of the Council of Bishops in a collaborative effort to jointly explore how this alternative might be utilized to address critical matters until an in person gathering of delegates can be safely convened next year,” said commission chair Kim Simpson.

Some of the concerns mentioned in the report regarding having a virtual session include:

  • Lack of infrastructure in some areas, including Internet access, Internet speed, and electricity
  • Lack of technology for equitable Holy Conferencing
  • Complexity of the legislative committee process
  • Concerns about accurate credentialing and verification of identity
  • Difficulties in seating reserve delegates properly
  • Security of voting
  • Safety concerns about regional satellite gatherings

Simpson said the August-September dates in 2022 will mean that General Conference will be one day shorter than planned for 2021; however, these dates were the only option available. Simpson said that the Commission regrets the fact that these dates once again conflict with the start of the academic year in the U.S. which a group of young adults had asked the Commission to avoid, but there were no other dates available.

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About General Conference
General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church. The assembly meets at the beginning of each quadrennium to consider revisions to church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs for the next four years
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Media contact:
Diane Degnan ddegnan@umcom.org
615.742.5406 (o) 615.483.1765 (c)

Methodist Foundation to host Arkansas author John Grisham

For more information, contact:
Haley Walker Klein
501-664-8632
hklein@methodistfoundationAR.org

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (January 27, 2021)- The Methodist Foundation for Arkansas will host Arkansas author John Grisham as its February guest speaker for its ongoing speaker series, “In Conversation Together.”

Born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Grisham is an American novelist, attorney, politician, and activist, best known for his popular legal thrillers. There are currently over 300 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, translated into 40 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marked his first foray into non-fiction, and Ford County (November 2009) was his first short story collection.

In October 2020, he released A Time for Mercy, the third story involving the characters established in his first novel, A Time to Kill, and further follows Jake Brigance’s story, a Mississippi small-town lawyer representing a minor accused of murder.

Grisham devotes his time to several charitable causes, including his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised $8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 500 kids on 40 baseball and softball teams. He is also a long-time member of the Board of Directors of The Innocence Project, a non-profit organization working to reform the American criminal justice system using DNA science to exonerate wrongly convicted individuals.

The Methodist Foundation for Arkansas began the “In Conversation Together” speaker series in October 2020, sparked by pandemic isolation from family and friends. Each month, the Foundation invites participants to an hour-long conversation with well-known philanthropists, leaders in religion, popular motivational speakers, and others as they share their work, stories, and visions. “Many of our friends have expressed that they are lonely, and appreciate the Foundation staff checking on them,” said Janet Marshall, the Foundation’s Vice President of Development. “This opportunity has allowed our friends to hear from some special people, to learn new things, and to have something to look forward to each month.”

“In Conversation Together” gathers online on the third Thursday of each month from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CST. The Foundation hosts the calls from our facility in Little Rock. Upcoming “In Conversation Together” speakers include Master Gardener Janet Carson (March); former Arkansas Razorback and motivational speaker, Anthony Lucas (April); Bishop Gary Mueller, episcopal leader of the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church (May); and Chelsea Clinton, author, economic and global health advocate (June). For more information about The Methodist Foundation for Arkansas and the “In Conversation Together” speaker series, visit https://www.methodistfoundationar.org.

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The Methodist Foundation for Arkansas manages over $215 million in endowment funds and other charitable assets that benefit local churches and other United Methodist ministries. The MFA is one of the largest United Methodist Foundations in the country. Founded in 1963, it is responsible for over 800 funds that support United Methodist ministries.

Give Back During the Lenten Season in the 12th Annual Get Up & Give Collection Drive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For More Information, Contact:
Kelli Reep, kreep@methodistfamily.org
501-906-4210 or 501-766-1260 cell

LITTLE ROCK, AR (Feb. 2, 2021) – Methodist Family Health has a way for Arkansans to honor the Lenten season by contributing to our state’s children and families who are abandoned, abused, neglected and managing psychiatric, emotional, behavioral and spiritual issues.

The 12th Annual Get Up & Give collection project asks Arkansans to contribute necessities to the children and families in our care. The project is during the entire 40 days of Lent – Wed., Feb. 17 through Thurs., Apr. 1 – and both children and adults can participate by donating personal hygiene items, clothes, shoes, school supplies, bedding, funds and other necessities to the Methodist Counseling Clinic in their community.

“Many of the children in our care are abandoned, abused and neglected,” said Carolyn McCone, CFRE, executive director of the Methodist Family Health Foundation. “Others are in the foster care system or have families with few monetary resources. By providing them things like new underwear, deodorant, their own school supplies – even books and toys – our community demonstrates to them that there are people who care about them and their well-being.”

Methodist Family Health asks that all items contributed through Get Up & Give are new. Monetary donations also can be contributed so specific items can be purchased to meet the needs of the Arkansas children and families in our care. Please know we at Methodist Family Health know you are dealing with uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic. To donate virtually and maintain health and safety guidelines, you can shop online and have your donations delivered directly to us. Here’s how:

Mount Eagle Retreat Center Announces Katelyn Hiatt as New Executive Director

Mount Eagle Retreat Center Announces Katelyn Hiatt as New Executive Director

katelyn hiatt

Katelyn Hiatt, Executive Director of Mount Eagle Retreat Center

The Mount Eagle Board of Directors is pleased to announce Katelyn Hiatt as our new Executive Director to the Mount Eagle Retreat Center.

Kaitlyn and her family come to us from Waco, Texas. She is currently working on her Spiritual Direction Certification, has a Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Development, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She has experience writing and facilitating large federal grants, being responsible for large groups of high-risk students and their programming including their spiritual life through McLennan Community College, and directing all aspects of Residence Hall life. She has experience through professional presentations and course work in Autism Spectrum Disorder, Economic Sustainability, and Multicultural, Career, and Group Counseling.

We believe that Katelyn has the basic skill set to manage and grow Mount Eagle. She is a very deep thinker who considers all sides before making a decision. Katelyn Is well organized, detail-oriented, and God-Centered. 

Katelyn’s husband, Dan, is a mission-minded horse wrangler and organic farmer with a passion for creation care and networking with churches. He has an M. Div. in Biblical Studies and Theology, and a B.A. in Religion/ Philosophy and Biblical Literature. The Hiatt’s have a young family, 6-year-old Dirk and 9-year-old Asher.  

The Hiatts are all very excited to be moving to Mount Eagle in March. Please join us in welcoming them to the Arkansas Conference.   

hiatt family

Hiatt Family

Hendrix Receives Largest Outright Gift in College History$15 million Windgate Foundation gift expands campaign to $150 million

Hendrix Receives Largest Outright Gift in College History
$15 million Windgate Foundation gift expands campaign to $150 million

Photo by Mike Kemp

CONWAY, Ark. (November 20, 2020) — Hendrix College has received a $15 million gift from the Windgate Foundation, the largest outright gift in Hendrix’s history.

“We are grateful for the support of the Windgate Foundation,” said Hendrix President W. Ellis Arnold III. “More than ever, it is critical that we continue moving forward, to meet today’s challenges and to continue to be a leader in higher education in the future.”

This year, the College surpassed its $110 million campaign goal a year ahead of schedule with $114 million in gifts and pledges. The campaign, which was scheduled to end in 2021, will be expanded to $150 million and will extend to 2023. The campaign now stands at $129 million.

“During this campaign, thanks to the support of alumni and friends of the College, we have strengthened the academic and student life experience with new programs and initiatives,” said Arnold. “We have added new facilities that celebrate the residential experience and support student recruitment, and we have continued to make Hendrix more affordable and accessible for students and families.”

This spring, as part of the campaign expansion, Hendrix will launch a multimillion-dollar Residence Hall Renewal Project, beginning with renovations of Veasey Hall. Fundraising efforts for the project will also support renovations of historic Martin Hall.

In addition, the expanded campaign will seek additional funds for the College’s endowment. $10 million of the Windgate gift will provide endowed scholarships for Hendrix students.

“These priorities – the Residence Hall Renewal Project and increasing the College’s endowment – will support student recruitment and retention,” said Arnold. “They will keep Hendrix accessible and affordable to students and families, and they will ensure that Hendrix remains one of the country’s leading liberal arts colleges for academic quality, innovation, and value.”

The expanded Hendrix campaign will be called A Time to Lead: The Campaign for Today and Tomorrow.

“The time for Hendrix to lead is now. We know that many students and families are concerned by the cost of higher education today,” said Arnold. “That is why we recently announced a tuition reset and lowered our tuition by 32% for new students.”

“We also know that our current students’ residential experience at Hendrix was disrupted by COVID-19,” he said. “That is why – in addition to our tuition reset for new students – we developed a tuition-free fifth year program for current students to provide the opportunity to have a complete residential student experience at Hendrix.”

Arnold added that these recent offerings are just two examples of how Hendrix is leading today. “We must continue to lead in quality, innovation, and value,” he said. “The Residence Hall Renewal Project will reinforce the vital role of the residential campus experience at Hendrix and growing our endowment will strengthen the College’s financial position to support students today and tomorrow.”

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit www.hendrix.edu.