Bold Imagination: Annual Conference 2017

March 14, 2017
More than 1,000 United Methodists will gather in the Shreveport/Bossier area for AC2017: Bold Imagination June 7-10 to worship, share in fellowship, “boldly” imagine and strategize their work in ministry to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Annual Conference will have some different characteristics this year. The business sessions will once again be held on Centenary’s campus; however, participants will gather together in various churches throughout the Shreveport/Bossier area for worship and celebration.
“Jesus isn’t just in the Gold Dome” Rev. Chad Brooks

"Just like last year, Annual Conference begins on a Wednesday and concludes on a Saturday morning. We will be finishing up business a day early this year, and work sessions will be shorter,” said Rev. Lane Cotton Winn, pastor of Pearl River UMC and chair of the Annual Conference Design Team. 
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 during the past year.
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.
As in years past, business sessions will be held in the Gold Dome on the campus of Centenary College. However, a number of other sessions will be held at various churches throughout the Shreveport/Bossier area.
This year’s Clergy Session will be held Wednesday, June 7 from 3:30-6 p.m. at Grace Community UMC in Shreveport—a departure from the tradition of meeting in Brown Chapel on Centenary’s campus.
Folks will gather later that evening from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Bain Hall at First UMC, Shreveport for Imagination Expo, a ministry fair for the sharing of “bold” ideas. This new event, hosted by the Conference Board of Laity, will highlight innovative ministries happening around the conference, including Wesley Award winners. The Imagination Expo will give delegates a chance to discuss these and other exciting ministries that churches may “bring home” to implement in their own congregations.
Laity will gather once again at First UMC, Shreveport at 8 a.m. for the Laity Session on Thursday morning at First UMC, Shreveport.
To make registration easy for members, laity will be able to register for the annual conference from 5:15-7 p.m. at First UMC during the expo, AND from 7:30- 9 a.m Thursday morning prior to and during the Laity Session.
In a similar fashion, clergy will register from 1-6 p.m. at Grace Community UMC, prior to and during the Clergy Session.

The keynote speaker for AC2017: Bold Imagination, Rev. Dr. Greg Jones, will speak at both the clergy and lay sessions. He will also present during plenary sessions on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.

Jones, an ordained elder in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, is currently serving as Executive Vice President and Provost at Baylor University and previously provided strategic vision for leadership education at Duke Divinity School where he served as the school's 11th dean.

Jones has published Christian Social Innovation, which will serve, in part, as a resource for Jones’ presentations. 

Keeping with tradition, the Episcopal Address, given by Bishop Harvey, as well as the opening worship, will once again be held in the Gold Dome at 10:30 a.m. That service will also include Holy Communion.
Always an important part of Annual Conference, music will have a “home grown feel to it” this year, says Winn. “We have invited local churches to submit applications and share videos of their musical gifts. Those attending AC2017 will be entertained and inspired by the wide selection of offerings, this year." Adam Philley, Director of Music Ministries for Broadmoor UMC, Shreveport is coordinating all of the musicians and groups.
Thursday evening will present another new and unique opportunity for participants with the World Café to be held at 7 p.m. at the Fitness Center on Centenary’s campus. The themes presented will center around Rev. Dr. Jones teachings and help us to stretch, learning how to be bold in ministry.
Scripture references for this year’s theme, Bold Imagination, are Ephesians 3:20-21“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. Amen.(CEB)”, and Numbers 13:20b: quoting Moses,"Be Bold, and bring some of the fruit of the land. (NRSV).”

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