What To Expect: A Self-Guided Orientation to AC2017


This year’s Annual Conference will inspire us to “Be Bold!” like Joshua as he entered the promised land (Numbers 13:20, NRSV).

We will be invited to trust in the Holy Imagination of God and that same holy imagination, which is found within ourselves and in our congregations.

We will live at the intersections of Blessing, Hope, Friendship, Forgiveness, Imagination, and Improvisation throughout our time together, equipping us each to be inventors and innovators in Jesus’ name.

Our time of holy conferencing will include worship, singing, prayer, learning, conversation, celebration, and praise to God.

We will receive reports of our shared missions and ministries and look ahead to where God is calling us next.

Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us; glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, forever and always. Ephesians 3:20-21 (CEB)

As you prepare to make your way to the Shreveport/Bossier City area for Annual Conference, we invite you to:

  • Pray that God’s miracles break forth during our days together and that we not become an obstacle to God’s plans for our future.
  • Make note of the agenda and read the reports of our many and varied ministries as an Annual Conference. Bring your questions with you, and be prepared to be an active participant in all of our sessions and worship experiences.
  • Believe in the imagination of God at work in AC2017, and anticipate the presence of the Holy Spirit through our worship services, music, business sessions, and holy conversations, as we seek to live out our call to discipleship in new and innovative ways.
  • Consider reading the book, Christian Social Innovation, by Rev. Dr. Greg Jones, this year’s presenter. It will further prepare and inspire you for our time together.
  • Pray for the leadership of the Conference and for all of our local congregations, our laity, and our pastors.

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey has more on our theme in the video below:

Conference App

All you need to know about Annual Conference 2017 is as close as your phone.

The Louisiana Annual Conference has launched an app specifically tailored for Annual Conference 2017.

The app is free of charge and available for immediate download.

It delivers on-demand essential items such as the agenda, directions to various event locations throughout Shreveport/Bossier, a portal to ask questions directly to a member of the design team, as well as connections to the Conference's various social media channels.  

"The Communications team is constantly looking for technological advances that can enhance the user experience," says Rev. Todd Rossnagel, Director of Communications for the Louisiana Annual Conference. "This app is a great opportunity to make Annual Conference a productive and fulfilling experience and we encourage everyone to download the app prior to arriving in Shreveport."

Through push notifications and alerts, attendees will also receive real-time updates on conference news, changes in the schedule and various announcements.

The Annual Conference 2017 is available for download for IOSAndroid, and all other internet-enabled mobile devices.


Please make sure you are registered for Annual Conference. 

Online Registration is closed. 

  • After May 19, you will need to register at Annual Conference. The registration fee will be $50.00, cash or check only will be accepted.
  • All delegates, both clergy and laity, must pay the registration fee. Alternate delegates do not need to register or pay the fee.
  • Retired pastors who are not serving a church do not have to pay the registration fee.
  • Retired pastors who are serving a church, must pay the registration fee.

Business of Annual Conference

Our United Methodist Church is based on democratic principles. Persons who have concerns about what our church does and how we do it may work for change through the legislative process of the Louisiana Annual Conference.

Any individual member or a duly elected body of the local church or a district of the Louisiana Annual conference may petition the Louisiana conference session that will meet June 7-10, 2017.

Each petition will be assigned to a Board, committee or commission for consideration.

That group will discuss the issue pertained to in the petition and follow a course of action; i.e., agree with the petition (concur); amend the petition; or not agree with the petition (non-concur). The petition will then be brought before the body of the Conference with that group’s recommendation.

  • If you, your church or organization wishes to write a petition, the following steps will be helpful:
  • Briefly write your concern or the course of action you wish the Conference to follow
  • Write the reason(s) you feel your concern is important
  • Develop a formal petition using a recognized format. The format includes a title, the name of the person submitting the petition, the statement of concern, the proposed solution, and the method of implementation.

The petition should resemble the format that is on page the following page 10 of the Pre-Conference Report and more information regarding them can be found there.

Holy Conferencing

Yes, per tradition and per our rules, we are gathering as a collective body to discuss rules, by-laws and ordinances. Nearly all organizations across the world do this. However, we are also the church and we prefer to look at this as Holy Conferencing.

With more on what that means, here is Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey:

Bold Changes

There are some significant changes to this years Annual Conference. Members of the design team share more on those changes in the video below.

Worship at Annual Conference

Opening Worship is Thursday, June 8th at 10:30 a.m. in the Gold Dome at Centenary College. The service will inlclude the Episcopal Address as well as Holy Communion. 

On Friday evening, at the end of the business day, delegates will travel to Asbury UMC in Bossier City for the Memorial Service, where the Annual Conference will celebrate the lives of those clergy and clergy spouses who have served faithfully and have passed away this past year.

Pre-Service Music, beginning at 7:00 p.m., will feature a Mass Gospel Choir, which brings together choir members from across the Louisiana Conference. The service begins at 7:30 p.m., with Rev. Callie Winn Crawford preaching.
The next morning, the much anticipated Celebration of Ministry (formerly the Ordination and Commissioning Service) will be held at First UMC, Shreveport. Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey will serve as preacher for this very important event in the life of the church. This is our time to license, commission, ordain, pass the mantle and fix the appointments.

Pre-Service Music, beginning at 9:00 a.m., will feature the First UMC, Shreveport Chancel Choir.  

It will be held Saturday morning. Members of the design team explain the reasoning why in the video below.  

Special Guest: Rev. Greg Jones

Rev. Dr. Jones has provided strategic vision for leadership education at Duke Divinity and has served as senior strategist for the Fuqua-Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

From 1997-2010, Rev. Dr. Jones served as the 11th dean of Duke Divinity School. He is also an ordained elder in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.

The author or editor of 16 books, Rev. Dr. Jones also has published more than 200 articles and essays, including his most recent book, Christian Social Innovation. Rev. Dr. Jones is an active contributor to both scholarly and popular publications and is on the editorial board of the journal Modern Theology and editor-at-large for The Christian Century.

Here's Bishop Harvey with more on Rev. Dr. Greg Jones

Imagination Expo

Baton Rouge lay leader Sue Catchings has more on the laity expo, an event designed to showcase some of the best ministries in Louisiana - what is working, why it's working and how you can learn to implement that ministry in your community at your local church.

Imagination Expo which will be held Wednesday, June 7 at First United Methodist Church of Shreveport in Bain Hall from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm. 


World Cafe

Another offering that will be unique this year is World Cafe. It has nothing to do with food. Instead, it's an easy-to-use method for creating a living network of collaborative dialogue around questions that matter. Consider all the learning and action choices that occur as people move from one conversation to another inside the Louisiana Annual Conference. 

What if we considered all of these conversations as one big dynamic Café, each a table in a larger network of living conversations which is the core process for sharing our collective knowledge and shaping our future? Once we become aware of the power of conversation as a key process in all aspects of our lives, we can use it more effectively for our mutual benefit.

World Cafe will be Thursday June 8, 2017 7:00pm - 8:30pm inside the 
Centenary College-Fitness Center and is open to everyone. 

Below is a video that describes how a World Cafe process works:



One of the most frequently asked questions is: What Do I Wear? 

The dress code is dressy casual. We will have worship together so that may influence what you pull out of the closet. 

In keeping with the Louisiana legislative tradition, Seersucker Day will be Thursday of Annual Conference. We invite you to embrace this relatively new and optional Annual Conference tradition by wearing your Seersucker on June 8th. 

Clergy, please remember to pack your robe!

Clergy have a very specific wardrobe requirement this year as they will be processing in during several events.

For more on that, view the message below from Annual Conference Design Team Chairwoman Rev. Lane Cotton Winn:

Special Note About Processional

Bishop Harvey is inviting all clergy to process into the Memorial Service on Friday, June 9, 2017 at Asbury UMC in Bossier City and into the Licensing, Commissioning, and Ordination Service on Saturday, June 10, 2017 at FUMC Shreveport.  

What to wear:  Local pastors are to wear a robe and, if you like, the cross that was given to you when you became a local pastor. 

Ordained Elders and Ordained Deacons are to wear robes or albs with a white stole for the Memorial Service and a red stole for the Licensing, Commissioning, and Ordination Service. 

If you RSVP'd to process in your robe (deadline to RSVP was May 25th), don't forget to pack your robe/alb as well as red and white stoles, if appropriate with your order.

Times and places to be: 

  • 7:00 p.m. Friday, June 9: Asbury UMC Bossier City Fellowship Hall
  • 9:00 a.m. Saturday, June 10:  FUMC Shreveport Bain Hall

Young Adults

All United Methodist young adults (18-40 y/old) are invited to join the Facebook group “Young Adults of the LA Conference UMC”.

On this page, you will find updates on Annual Conference happenings and engage in conversations related to young adults in the church.

For the young adult agenda, please click here

Special Offering

This year, the special offering will go toward relief efforts following the devastating 2016 floods. The Louisiana Annual Conference has created a new Office of Missional Engagement (formerly known as the Office of Disaster Response).

The Missional Outreach Engagement team will have oversight for disaster response, and will now include volunteers in mission and early responders.

More on this effort, including the newly hired Director Rev. Laraine Waughtal, please read this story