It's Holston Annual Conference time again. Imagine that. Are you going?
If you aren't attending, skip down to #9 for information on live streaming and online news.
If you are attending Holston's big yearly meeting -- held June 9-12 at Lake Junaluska, N.C. -- here are a few details and schedule changes that could be helpful to know.
1. Register online
Registration is all online this year, and you should register before you arrive in Lake Junaluska -- especially if you are a member of the Annual Conference, representing a church or district. If you don't register online before you go, then staff members will sit you down at a computer (and help you register) when you arrive at Bethea Welcome Center. Those who have already registered online get to go through the "express line," quickly picking up their nametags and "Worship Book."
2. About those deadlines
Several registration deadlines have already passed. You can still register online for the BuzzKill 5K/ 1-Mile Walk on Tuesday morning, but it's too late to get a T-shirt. Registration for the Missions Ministry Dinner on Monday night in Terrace Auditorium is also closed. (At $25 a plate, reservations had to be counted early to plan the meal.)
3. Bring the books
As always, the organizers ask that you take your Bible, "Book of Reports," and "Worship Book" to all Annual Conference sessions. The "Book of Reports" is only available online now, so make sure you have it printed out or ready to access on your smart phone or tablet. If you want to peek at the "Worship Book" before receiving your hard copy at registration, it's also online.
4. Sunday start
No sneaking in on Monday morning. The Clergy Session and Laity Sessions are at 5 p.m. Sunday -- at Shackford Hall and Stuart Auditorium, respectively. Also, don't forget to take your church's Imagine No Malaria offering to Sunday night worship at 7:30.
5. Bread & wine
Gone are the early-morning "Jump Start" or "Morning Glory" chapel services of ACs past. Instead, the Monday and Tuesday morning sessions (as well as Sunday evening worship) will begin with worship and Holy Communion.
"Holy Communion is a sacrament, a time when we actually meet God," Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor said, explaining why the change was made. "It's a reminder that God feeds us and nurtures us and gives us strength for what's ahead."
6. Rethink schedule
You'll notice big changes in the schedule. The Memorial Service is set for Monday at 2 p.m. There is no worship on Monday night; we'll have a business session instead.
Tuesday night worship will center on Imagine No Malaria. Clergy retirees will be honored during a Tuesday afternoon ceremony (but not worship).
The ordination and commissioning service will be combined with the Sending Forth service and held on Wednesday morning. All business is scheduled to be completed by Tuesday evening.
7. Preachers & local pastors
There are no guest preachers. Bishop Taylor will preach Sunday night and Wednesday morning. The Rev. Bill Kilday will preach for the Monday afternoon Memorial Service.
Local pastors will not be recognized during Wednesday's Sending Forth service, as in recent years, but at the close of Monday night's session.
8. Malaria main event
Tuesday night's service will celebrate the cause we've worked for all year long: Imagine No Malaria. We'll revisit some of the fundraisers created by our churches and listen to good jazz music. Fred and Libby Dearing from South Sudan will be there.
The fact that Holston is the first and only conference to create a special service for Imagine No Malaria has apparently intrigued the folks from United Methodist Communications; they're sending two people from Nashville to observe and join in worship on Tuesday.
9. Get the scoop
There are four ways to keep up with what's happening at AC, whether you are onsite or not. You may ...
- Watch livestreaming at AC.Holston.org
- Read The Call's daily reports at Holston.org
- Follow on Facebook.Holston.org
- Tweet with TheCall_Holston (hashtag #holstonac13)
10. Granny's gone
For some, this might be the most surprising change of all. Have you heard? Granny's Chicken Palace closed its doors after 27 years in business. In its place is ... a Jamaican restaurant?