An Annual Meeting Invitation

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If you haven’t yet discovered, the Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ’s Annual Meeting is not taking place in June this year. Last year, the Board of Directors made the conscious decision to move our annual gathering away from what has become one of the busiest event months of the year in order to honor its many celebrations, including Juneteenth, Pride Month, graduations, Father’s Day, and the summer kick-off of family vacations. For several years now, we have had to move around which June weekend we had this annual centerpiece of our conference calendar to find the weekend that would have the least negative impact on attendance and activities in which our congregations are involved in order to have a quorum. So, the Board has made a bold decision and proclaimed the third weekend of August as Southeast Conference Annual Meeting Weekend!

I invite you to join your siblings from across the SECUCC Friday and Saturday, August 16 and 17, at Fairfield Glade Community Church at 521 Snead Drive, Fairfield Glade, TN. Fairfield Glade is located right next to Crossville, TN. The new General and Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, The Reverend Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson, will be our keynote speaker for this year’s event. She will also preach at our community worship service, which will be held Saturday morning at 10:30 AM. All are welcome!

The theme for this 58th Annual Meeting is By Our Love, inspired by the well-known song “They’ll Know We are Christians By Our Love.” While gathered, we’ll explore ways that the wider community experiences God’s love when we offer our love, as well as ways we can strengthen and resource our local congregations and ministry settings to better live out that love as shown to us by Jesus. In addition to worship and keynote experiences, there will be several workshops and two plenaries where we will conduct the necessary business of the Southeast Conference and hear from some of our UCC Ministry Partners. There are also several pre-event opportunities available Friday morning, including a boundary awareness training session for retired and retiring clergy.

In addition to our regular schedule, we are encouraging attendees, both visitors and delegates, to consider making this an extra-special trip by adding on a day or two for some personal or family time. Fairfield Glade and neighboring Crossville are known for their golf courses, hiking trails, resort and Airbnb locations. And…an exciting opportunity is being made available to us by the well-known Cumberland County Playhouse to attend the dress rehearsal performance of Unnecessary Farce by Paul Slade Smith (a shout-out to Rev. Houston Hall for making these arrangements)! The entry fee for this entertaining program will be $15, and more information will be available on our Annual Meeting web page to register.

I do hope you’ll mark your calendars now and join me to help make this our best Southeast Conference Annual Meeting yet. The title “meeting” is a deceptive one – this is really a celebration of who we are and who God is calling us to be together as the Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ. It is important for us to have representation from all our congregations and ministry settings in the form of both delegates and visitors. It is important for all of our Authorized Ministers, Members in Discernment (MIDs), and Persons in Exploration (PIEs) to be present. It is important for us to sit and share ideas with our UCC National Setting Partners and our community partners. And it is important for us to come together to look beyond our individual settings to our collective call as Christians to be a presence of Christ in the world today. This is our covenant to and with one another as the Southeast Conference and the wider United Church of Christ.

I look forward to seeing many of you onsite in Fairfield Glade, TN in just a couple months. And I look forward to seeing others of you as you attend on Zoom. Please be sure to go to our Annual Meeting webpage at https://www.secucc.org/news-and-events/annual-meeting-2024/ for more information and registration details. A discounted Early Bird Registration is currently available. Don’t miss it!