We’re excited for this year’s annual meeting. taking place again at lovely Piedmont College! Below you can find all of the information you’ll need for registration and participation in the event.
Online Registration has closed, but you can still register onsite! Just download the paper registration form (below), complete it and bring with you to the meeting.
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain.
All the Details
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Rev. Elizabeth Dilley serves as Minister for Ministers in Local Churches on the Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization (MESA) ministry team in Local Church Ministries at the UCC national offices in Cleveland. In this work, she partners with conferences and associations to uphold the covenants of mutual accountability with authorized ministers working in local churches. Prior to this, she served for nine years at First Congregational United Church of Christ, Red Oak – a small, thriving, Open and Affirming congregation in rural Iowa. She received her M.Div. from Pacific School of Religion and her B.S. in Educational Theatre from New York University. Elizabeth and her spouse, Paul Richardson, have a preschool-aged daughter and they are the humans to two (crazy) dogs.
Rev. June Boutwell is the Designated Conference Minister of Southeast Conference. She has just completed her first year of a three year term. Prior to this ministry, she held a staff position in the UCC national offices in Youth, Young Adults and Outdoor Ministries, has been on the Conference staff of Maine and Southern California Nevada. She has also served several local church interims in California, Oregon, and Maine. She is a liturgical dancer and choreographer and loves to sing in the choir. She grew up in eastern Wyoming in a UCC church. She has two adult sons.
Rev. Denise A. Bell was called in March 2014 to serve as Regional Minister and CEO of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Georgia by the 66 congregations represented in Georgia. She was commissioned as a Jr. Lieutenant in the United States Navy as a Chaplain Candidate, where she spent one year in service. She has served Mallory Avenue Christian Church (DOC) in Portland, Oregon, Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church (DOC), and Heritage Fellowship Church in Reston, Virginia. Rev. Bell holds a Master of Divinity degree from Denver Theological Seminary, Denver, Colorado and is now working on her PhD in Organizational Leadership from Eastern University, St. David, Pennsylvania. Her dissertation topic focuses on the practices of African American pastors who increase congregational vibrancy and organizational capacity. Her hope is to add to the knowledge base of effective and blended models of pastoral leadership.
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About Our Hosts
Founded in 1897, Piedmont College is a comprehensive liberal arts institution and also offers a variety of career-oriented majors, including education, business and nursing. Total enrollment is approximately 2,800 students on campuses in Demorest and Athens, Georgia.
The Demorest campus is a traditional residential campus located in rural Habersham County, and the Athens campus is designed for commuting students and is located near downtown Athens. Both campuses offer a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, including education specialist programs and an education doctoral program.
Piedmont College is a member of the United Church of Christ Council for Higher Education. They offer scholarships for students who are members of a UCC church.
James F. Mellichamp is the thirteenth President of Piedmont College. His career at Piedmont began in 1982 as a member of the music faculty. He advanced to become the Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, then Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost before being elected as President in 2012.
Under his leadership, the college has flourished. He has guided the academic program development of the college for the past fifteen years during which time new majors were added in almost every discipline from undergraduate through doctoral levels. A dedicated teacher, he holds the rank of Professor of Music and maintains an active studio of young organists.
With a performance career spanning more than forty years, Dr. Mellichamp has made prominent appearances as an organist throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. His concerts include solo recitals at such notable venues as the Washington Cathedral, Berlin Cathedral, and the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.
After study at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, Dr. Mellichamp was an international organ scholarship recipient for two years at the Hochschule fuer Musik, Herford, Germany. He holds a Doctor of Music degree from the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.
Ashley Cleere was called to Piedmont College in 1999, where she is Chaplain, Director of Church Relations, and a member of the humanities faculty. Her responsibilities also include oversight of the Compass Program, an experiential learning requirement launched in 2013 to foster students’ engagement with the wider community while heightening awareness of their expectations and objectives. She holds degrees from Hamilton College (A.B.), Union Theological Seminary (M. Div.), and Columbia Theological Seminary (D. Min.). Ordained in 1991, Rev. Cleere previously served local churches in Hartford, Connecticut, Oregon City, Oregon, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A past president of the National Association of College and University Chaplains, she has volunteered for and been employed by various social change organizations, among them: National Mobilization for Survival; Links: Global Health Report; Center City Churches, Inc. (Hartford); and Prevent Child Abuse Habersham.
Piedmont College is a smoke-free environment.
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Authorized Ministers Retreat
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Rev. Elizabeth Dilley serves as Minister for Ministers in Local Churches on the Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization (MESA) ministry team in Local Church Ministries at the UCC national offices in Cleveland. She will be engaging the retreat participants in discussions about healthy ministry, the work of MESA, supportive community, and answers to your questions
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Friday, June 12, 2015
- Opening Worshp — Rev. Denise Bell, Regional Minister of the Christian Church in Georgia (Disciples of Christ) will be preaching. Offering will support Our Churches Wider Mission.
Saturday, June 13, 2015
- Memorial Service — One member of each congregation should be prepared to read the names of church members who have died since June 2014.
- Closing Communion
Friday, June 12, 2015
- Celebration of Our Churches Wider Mission Giving
- Recognition of Five for Five Churches
- Honoring Clergy Anniversaries
- Special Awards
Saturday, June 13, 2015
- State of the Conference Keynote by Rev. June Boutwell, Designated Conference Minister
- Business Meeting — At the beginning of the Business Meeting one member of each congregation should be prepared to report the number of clergy, delegates, youth and visitors present.
Friday, June 12, 2015 — 3:15 p.m.
- Building a House that is Home – Rev. Kirk Lyman Barner
Come and hear about 47 years of UCC involvement in the Affordable Housing Movement. Rev Lyman-Barner is Founder of Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity, Praxis UCC-Americus and Co-Founder of The Fuller Center for Housing
- Open and Affirming Ministries – Minister Gwen Thomas
Our Southeast Conference ONA Coordinator will provide information on becoming an Open and Affirming congregation as well as ways to continue to witness to the UCC’s extravagant welcome.
- End the New Jim Crow – Rev. Diane Dougherty and Mr. Damon Stewart
This group gathers to promote awareness of the issues surrounding Georgia’s incarcerated men and women and works to connect churches with their needs as they re-enter society, focusing on the call in Sacred Texts for forgiveness and bending to help the imprisoned.
- Church Accounting & Accountability: Five Smooth Stones for Slaying the Giant – Ms. Sandy Johns, CPA
This workshop will provide practical strategies for achieving transparency and competency in your church accounting process regardless of congregation budget size.
- SEC History Project 66-16 – Mr. Mike Stroud
The Southeast Conference will turn 50 years old in 2016. Project 66-16 is working toward preserving our forebearers faith history for future generations. Come learn how you church can be a part of this very important history project.
- A House of Tragedy and Hope, Franklinton Center – Ms. Vivian Lucas, Director
Franklinton Center at Bricks is a part of our national Justice and Witness ministries. It is a former slave plantation that was transformed into one of the first accredited schools for African Americans in the South. Today, it is a conference, retreat, and educational facility focusing on justice advocacy and leadership development and serves the local community through various partner projects, including food justice, literacy outreach and programming.
Saturday, June 13, 2014 — 10:45 a.m.
- Constructing a Solid Communications Strategy – Mr. Don Harris
Using social media, websites, and email, learn how to build an electronic communications plan to reach and engage your members, friends and the world at large. We will talk about the best, most cost-effective tools and techniques for reaching each of your constituencies and growing your ministry.
- PATHWAYS: Blazing a New Trail in Equipping Today’s Leaders – Rev. Dr. Lou Kavar
Explore the unique opportunities PATHWAYS can provide for local church leaders and congregations for quality theological education to meet the needs of the growing and changing church. Members of the PATHWAYS Advisory Committee, instructors, and participants will share insight as to how this educational ministry can work for you and the leadership development of your congregation.
- The Intersections of Spirituality and Sexuality– Pastor Troy Sanders
Through this training, Pastor Troy explores the connections between spiritual and/or religious practices and how those beliefs impact an individual’s understanding of sexuality. He unpacks the correlation between spirituality/religion, sexuality, and sexual health while identifying the contribution “dualism” has on both binary and modern models of sexuality in religion.
- Equipping Ministers for Real Church – Rev. Elizabeth Dilley
Rev. Dilley will have a conversation with workshop participants about the work of the Ministerial Excellence Support and Authorization Team and how it impacts churches and pastors.
- When Democracy Worked – Mr. John Stewart
John was a member of Lyndon Baines Johnson’s staff at the time the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed. He will share that personal story and reflect on the legacy of 50 years of justice.
- Reading Changes Lives – Birmingham Area Churches
The national UCC has been engaged in this literacy initiative for over a year. Representatives from the Birmingham area churches will share their joint ministries in this project and the ways it has impacted the congregations and the community.
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Directions and Lodging
From Atlanta: Take I-85 North 31 miles to I-985. Take the I-985 North / LANIER PKWY exit- EXIT 113- on the LEFT toward GAINESVILLE. North of Gainesville, I-985 becomes GA-365. Continue on GA-365 North about 44 miles to the GA-105 / US-441-Business Route exit toward GA-385 / DEMOREST / HELEN. Turn LEFT onto US-441 Business Route / GA-105. Continue to follow US-441 Business Route 2.1 miles to the Piedmont campus in Demorest.
Piedmont College is a smoke-free environment.
See view of dorm room by clicking on the image below.