The 49th session of Annual Conference, scheduled for June 9-12, 2019, will be moving from the Gold Dome to the Shreveport Convention Center.
“We’re excited to move Annual Conference to the state-of-the-art convention center in Shreveport,” says Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey. “We believe this move will energize the conference and all of the delegates as we strategize the mission of the Louisiana Conference. This move gives us the creative luxury to reimagine Annual Conference to ensure our time together is fruitful and inspiring.”
The Annual Conference Design Team has been intentional in listening and incorporating the feedback of delegates.
“In reviewing the feedback over the past several years, it’s clear that we’ve simply outgrown the Gold Dome,” says Rev. Lane Cotton Winn, design team chair of the Annual Conference. “In addition to updated facilities and greater accessibility, the 350,000 square foot Convention Center has significantly more space which will allow us to stay in a central location and spend more time together.”
The Convention Center is located downtown adjacent to the Shreveport Hilton, a four-star 313 room suite hotel which will offer affordable block rates for our time together in June. The Center is also located just half a mile from First United Methodist Church Shreveport, which will continue to host our Celebration of Ministry service of licensing, commissioning, ordination and passing of the mantle.
The change in location will not increase the cost to the Annual Conference and the fee for delegates will not increase.
“We’ve gone off-site before with Annual Conference but there was always an increase in costs,” says Rhonda Whitley, Administrative Assistant for the Louisiana Conference and staff member responsible for Annual Conference logistics. “We know how important it is to stay cost neutral and, honestly, we were surprised the Convention Center was as affordable as it was.”
The Shreveport Convention Center, the second largest convention center in Louisiana, is also a tech-friendly facility which will afford a simpler and more manageable setup.
“Every year, we enter a facility that is designed for basketball and try to outfit if for a high-tech event,” says Rev. Todd Rossnagel, Director of Communication. “The Gold Dome has been adequate in years past when we relied on one microphone and one presenter at a time. Today, with the increase in media and technology, we have outstretched the capacity of the Gold Dome.”
The convention center will also have better wireless coverage than the Gold Dome and delegates will even be able to access a private Wi-Fi network for the duration of the event.
Prior to making the decision to move from the Gold Dome, the Annual Conference Design Team gave considerable consideration to not only technology but also accessibility, restroom facilities and the evaluation feedback from delegates over the past few years. A recurring comment has been the delegate’s preference for a Sunday to Wednesday schedule and that will return in 2019 as Annual Conference is scheduled for June 9-12.
“The Louisiana Conference has a long-standing relationship with Centenary and we took that to heart when discussing the options,” said Rev. Lane Cotton Winn, Design Team Chair. “Centenary president, Dr. Chris Holoman was consulted and he agreed that while he and the Centenary staff enjoy hosting the conference plenary on campus, he understood the decision to move Annual Conference.”
“Centenary deeply values its continuing relationship with the Louisiana Annual Conference and the United Methodist Church,” says Dr. Holoman. “We wish them well as the session moves downtown and look forward to providing opportunities for our alumni and friends to visit the campus while they are in Shreveport. Centenary is happy to continue to provide the home for the Shreveport District and the District Superintendent’s office.”
“Last year, we began a three-year rhythm for Annual Conference,” says Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey. “The overarching theme is, ‘Making Disciples, Transforming the World,’ and that will continue in 2019 with our sub-theme building up ‘Together’ to ‘In Love’. All of this will be grounded in the Great Commission from Matthew 28:16-20 with Romans 13:8-10 anchoring our call to love all of God’s people.”
Registration and other details about the 2019 Annual Conference will be forthcoming on this website.