50th Annual Meeting (2016)

50th logo banner

We’re excited for this year’s annual meeting, our Jubliee year! We are pleased to be welcomed back to the lovely Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia. The Planning Task Force has focused this year’s agenda on honoring our history and some of the key persons who were part of that history. This will fit into a three year theme arc that started in 2014 “For Such a Time as This,” continued last year with “Building God’s House,” and this year will honor the laborers in the vineyard as we celebrate Jubilee.

We have published a written history of the Conference and will have a printed program book that will include all the materials for the meeting as well as a lot of historical reference material. There will be a Members in Discernment Retreat on Thursday and Friday. MIDS have received information about this retreat. There will also be a Clergy Retreat on Thursday and Friday.

Although online registration has closed, walk-up registration is available onsite. Please note, however, that overnight accommodations and meal availability cannot be guaranteed.

We’re having a “green” meeting! All delegates and visitors need to download and/or print their own copies as we have moved to a paperless meeting. Click on the “Reports & Docs” tab below for all the files.

Piedmont College WiFi: Network name: Piedmont Wireless; Password: Mathematical

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Updated 6/7/16

Schedule of Events

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Person in Exploration/Member in Discernment Retreat – Camp-Younts Room, Arrendale Library

  • 9:00 — Committee meets
  • 12:30 — Lunch
  • 1:30-4:30 — Retreat Program
  • 5:30 — Dinner and Evening Worship

Authorized Ministers’ Retreat – Camp Hall #207

  • 10:00 a.m. — Registration
  • 11:00 — Opening Session
  • 12:30 p.m. — Lunch
  • 1:30 — Session #2
  • 3:00 — Break
  • 3:30 — Session #3
  • 5:30 — Dinner
  • 7:00 — Closing & Vespers

Friday, June 10, 2016

  • 8:00 — Retreat Participants’ Breakfast – Student Commons Dining Hall
    Breakfast is available to Annual Meeting attendees at their own expense
  • 9:00 — Person in Exploration/Member in Discernment Retreat Program – Arrendale Library
  • 9:00 — Exhibit Hall Set Up – Swanson Center
  • 11:00 — Registration Opens – Student Commons
  • 12:00 p.m. — Lunch – Student Commons Dining Hall
  • 1:00 p.m.  — Registration moves to Swanson Center
  • 1:00 — Convocation – church and clergy recognition, special awards – Swanson Center Main Stage
    • Celebration of Our Churches Wider Mission Giving, Recognition of Five for Five Churches, Honoring Clergy Anniversaries, Special Awards
  • 2:30 — Break – PATHWAYS Book Sale open. Book signing by Rev. Dr. Lou Kavar
  • 3:15 — Workshops (see full listing under “Workshops” tab)
  • 4:30 — Break – PATHWAYS Book Sale open. Book signing by Rev. Glenna Shephard
  • 5:30 — Dinner – Student Commons Conference Room (2nd floor)
  • 7:00 — Opening Worship – Chapel, Center for Worship and Music
    • Rev. Joyce Hollyday, former Southeast Conference Associate Conference Minister and author, will be preaching. Offering will support Our Churches Wider Mission.
  • 8:15 — Ice Cream Social – Student Commons Conference Room (2nd floor)

Saturday, June 11, 2016

  • 8:00 a.m. — Breakfast – Student Commons Dining Hall
  • 8:30 — Registration Opens – Swanson Center Atrium
  • 9:00 — Celebrating Jubilee: A Historical Retrospective & Memoriam – Swanson Center Main Stage
    • A special historical retrospective with special guests and a visual presentation as well as celebration of the 50 year history of the Southeast Conference written by Michael T. Stroud. One member of each congregation should be prepared to read the names of church members who have died since June 2015 as part of this remembrance.
    • Business Meeting – At the beginning of the meeting ONE member of each congregation should be prepared to report the number of clergy, delegates, youth, and visitors present.
  • 10:30 — Break – PATHWAYS Book Sale open. Book signing by Rev. Joyce Hollyday
  • 11:00 — Workshops (see full listing under “Workshops” tab)
  • 11:00 — Board Meeting – Student Commons Private Dining Room
  • 12:15 p.m. — Lunch – Student Commons Conference Room (2nd floor)
  • 1:30 — Business Meeting-State of the Conference, Budget, Elections, Installation of Officers – Swanson Center Main Stage
  • 3:00 — Closing Worship with Communion – Swanson Center Main Stage
    • Rev. June Boutwell will be preaching from the theme text in Nehemiah 8 and from Romans 5 as we explore what continuing Jubilee might be for the Southeast Conference.
  • 4:00 — Departure

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Friday, June 10, 2016; 3:15 p.m.

  • You are not alone – Clergy Community of Practice – Rev. Michelle Holtmann and Rev. John Gill
    To support and nurture these clergy groups: 1. Transitioning into ministry from student through ordination and the first few years of ministry, 2. Experienced clergy across the conference especially those in isolated settings, and 3. Clergy serving as chaplains.  Come to our informational workshop to learn about and experience a Clergy Community of Practice group.
  • Ye Shall Be Witnesses Unto Me in the Southland Mr. Michael T. Stroud
    This round table book discussion will highlight new and interesting insights into the 50 year history of the Southeast Conference. From those insights, the group will try to discern meaning for our time in the UCC. A new book has just been written by Michael chronicling this history and will be available for purchase.
  • Can the Church Derail the Trillion Dollar Train Wreck? – Dennie Kelley and Linda Brown
    President Obama has initiated a trillion dollar modernization of our nuclear weapons industry. This workshop will explain why these expenditures are viewed by nuclear watchdog groups as a Trillion Dollar Train Wreck; how the nuclear weapons production at Y-12 in Oak Ridge, TN is the lynchpin in this debacle; and how people of faith can be involved in stopping this train wreck.
  • The “T” is not Silent: Understanding Transgender Experiences and How to Create Welcoming Churches – Rev. Kim Sorrells
    What does it mean to be a transgender person?  How do Christians who care about justice and inclusion advocate with the trans* community and create welcoming churches? Participants will have the chance to ask questions. This workshop is open to any who are interested in learning more about trans* experiences, and will be especially helpful for pastors, lay leaders, and chaplains seeking to create more welcoming spaces.
  • Protecting our People, Property, and Others:  Assets & LiabilitiesRev. Christopher Goss
    We recognize our assets in the church which is our people, our property and our community. The physical property is in the billions of dollars. The human capital is in the hundreds of trillions of dollars. How do we leverage our assets against our liabilities?
  • Choir Rehearsal
    Kevin Madill and Connye Florance have written an original piece for the Saturday Closing Worship. All God’s critters got a place in the choir.  Come and join in making a joyful noise.

Saturday, June 11, 2016; 11:00 a.m.

  • Sacred Stillness: Incarnating Sabbath as Re-CreationRev. Shannon Michael Pater
    Participants in this workshop will listen to the poetry of Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry and the music of Cloud Cult as well as participate with Rev. Shannon Michael in meditation and breath work (pranayama). It will be a time to explore the theology of Sabbath and practice for re-creation and restoration.
  • The “T” is not Silent: Understanding Transgender Experiences and How to Create Welcoming ChurchesRev.Kim Sorrells
    (See Friday description)
  • The Root Causes Pilgrimage to Central AmericaMs. Tonya Barnette & Rev. Angie Wright
    This past August, a group of faith leaders traveled to Guatemala and Honduras to explore what is driving the migration/ refugee crisis. What are the root causes? Hear a report on the trip, the amazing people they met, awesome stories they heard, and how you can be involved in supporting this community.
  • You are not alone – Clergy Community of Practice – Rev. Michelle Holtmann and Rev. John Gill
    (See Friday description)
  • Ye Shall Be Witnesses Unto Me in the SouthlandMr. Michael T. Stroud
    (See Friday description)
  • Workers Memorial Day – John and Nancy Stewart
    Church of the Savior, UCC in Knoxville has assumed a leadership role in events associated with the annual Workers’ Memorial Day that memorializes workers who are killed on the job. COS has been living this mandate by working directly with the TN DOT to upgrade its safety procedures and contracting requirements. Recruits to this cause across the South are needed. Come learn how your church can get involved.
  • Choir Rehearsal
    Kevin Madill and Connye Florance have written an original piece for the Saturday Closing Worship. All God’s critters got a place in the choir. Come and join in making a joyful noise.

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Download Individual Files


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charlene-smithRev. Charlene J. Smith served on the national staff of the United Church of Christ for 25 years in a variety of offices including Editorial Assistant to United Church News and then Communication Evangelism Education and Marketing Manager. As Minister of Evangelism and Vitality in Local Church Ministries she used her experience in sales, marketing and communication to tutor churches in revitalization, effective communication, radical extravagant authentic hospitality, church growth and how to begin new and more relevant outreach ministries. Smith was also involved in ecumenical work for 21 years serving on the National Council of Churches Communication Commission and as the UCC representative to the ecumenical partnership Evangelism Connections. Her membership is with East View United Church of Christ in Shaker Heights, OH. She is the proud mother of one son, Justin Davis Smith, and two grandchildren, Ayden Michael Smith and Alexa Marie Smith. She is a life member of The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

joyce-hollydayRev. Joyce Hollyday is a founding co-pastor of Circle of Mercy in Asheville, NC. She served as an Associate Conference Minister for the Southeast Conference from 1996 – 2005. Prior to that, she was an editor and feature writer for Sojourners magazine, covering faith-based efforts for justice and peace in the United States and around the globe. Joyce is the author of several books, including Clothed with the Sun, a reflection on biblical and contemporary women, and On the Heels of Freedom, a celebration of the work of the American Missionary Association, rooted in oral histories collected around the Southeast Conference. She is honored and delighted to be back and preaching for this milestone anniversary.

June BoutwellRev. June Boutwell is the Designated Conference Minister of Southeast Conference. She has completed two years 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.


  • Opening Worship – Dr. James Mellichamp (President of Piedmont College and Organist)
  • Saturday Program & Worship – Kevin Madill & Connye Florence

Special Guests

  • Rev. Kathy Clark
  • Rev. Kibbie Ruth
  • Ms. Gerri Ryons-Hudson
  • Rev. Leslie Etheredge

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  • Christopher Goss, Insurance Board
  • Common Global Ministries
    • Mission personnel-Michael Joseph
  • Cornerstone Fund
  • Piedmont College
  • Capital Campaign Grants
  • Upper Room
  • Church Building and Loan Fund

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  • Anytime – “RD On Call” 706 968-3377


  • 10:00 am – 11:00 am – Camp Hall #207
  • 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm – Student Commons Welcome Desk
  • After 1:30 pm – “RD On Call” 706 968-3377


  • 11:00 am – 1:00 pm – Student Commons Welcome Desk
  • 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm – Swanson Center Atrium
  • 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm – Student Commons Welcome Desk
  • After 7:00 pm – “RD On Call” 706 968-3377

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About Our Hosts

Piedmont College pedestrian_bridge

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 MillichampJames 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 CleereAshley 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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Ministers Retreat

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Person in Exploration/Member in Discernment Retreat – Camp-Younts Room, Arrendale Library

  • 9:00 – Committee meets
  • 12:30 – Lunch
  • 1:30-4:30 – Retreat Program
  • 5:30 – Dinner and Evening Worship

Authorized Ministers’ Retreat – School of Business Building

Rev. Charlene J. Smith, retired from the national setting of the UCC, invites you to get reacquainted with fellow clergy and meet new colleagues. This will be a time to celebrate your labors, accomplishments and ministry in this time of Jubilee. We will take time to be still and let the Spirit minister to us so we will become refreshed and renewed. And we will celebrate the new opportunities of the future.

  • 10:00 a.m. – Registration
  • 11:00 – Opening Session
  • 12:30 p.m. – Lunch
  • 1:30 – Session #2
  • 3:00 – Break
  • 3:30 – Session #3
  • 5:30 – Dinner
  • 7:00 – Closing & Vespers

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Directions to Piedmont

Daniel Hall - Piedmont College-3To Piedmont College Demorest Campus
165 Central Avenue
Demorest GA 30535


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.

Or click here to get directions via Google Maps

Piedmont College is a smoke-free environment.

New Bedford Residence HallAnnual Meeting registrants will be housed in the New Bedford building. All lodging will be in a single private room with a shared bath between the adjacent rooms. Facilities are accessible.