2023 Annual Meeting

57th Annual Meeting of the Southeast Conference

Friday, June 2 and Saturday, June 3, 2023
Kirkwood United Church of Christ
Atlanta, Georgia

Guest Speaker

Cole Arthur Riley
Writer, Liturgist, Speaker
Read more…

Guest Preacher

Rev. Dr. Teresa L. Fry Brown
Bandy Professor of Preaching and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University
Read more…

Schedule of Events

Please note that all times listed are Eastern Daylight Time.
You can find all the materials for the plenary sessions, committee reports, etc. on the “Downloads” tab.

Friday, June 2

  • 10:30 am — Registration Opens
  • 1:30 – 3:00 — Opening Worship (watch on YouTube; bulletin available in Downloads folder)
  • 3:00 – 3:30 — Break
  • 3:30 – 4:45 — Workshops
  • 5:00 – 6:15 — Dinner
  • 6:30 – 7:30 — First Plenary
  • 7:30 – 9:00 — Evening Activities

Saturday, June 3

  • 8:45 am — Morning Devotional
  • 9:00 – 10:15 — Workshops
  • 10:30 – 11:45 — Keynote Speaker
  • 12:00 – 1:15 — Lunch
  • 1:30 – 2:45 — Second Plenary
  • 3:00 – 3:45 — Closing Worship (watch on YouTube; bulletin available in Downloads folder)


Friday, June 2 3:30-4:45 PM

  • Church Safety in Today’s World: Jonathan Parker, Protective Security Advisor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Sanctuary and Online)
  • The Spirituality of Recovery: Rev. Helene Loper (Green Room)
  • The Myths About Poverty and Homelessness: Rev. James Pennington, Executive Director, Back Bay Mission (Church House)
  • Strategies for Church Marketing: Don Harris, SECUCC Communications Director (Green Carpet Room)
  • Gender 101: Pastor JRae Rice-Cranford (Online Only)
  • Labyrinth and Conversation Space (Morgan Oliver School, 120 Rogers St.)

Saturday, June 3 9:00-10:15 AM

  • Housing Recovery vs. Neighborhood Gentrification: Rev. James Pennington, Executive Director, Back Bay Mission (Sanctuary and Online)
  • Transgender 101: Rev. Tom Query, Wellspring Counseling Center (Green Carpet Room)
  • Budget Hearing: Michael Bowen, SECUCC Treasurer and Rev. Jennifer Baker, SECUCC Stewardship and Finance Committee Chair (Church House)
  • Covenant and Congregations: Rev. Kim Wood, Conference Minister (Green Room)
  • The Spirituality of Recovery: Rev. Helene Loper (Online Only)
  • Labyrinth and Conversation Space (Morgan Oliver School, 120 Rogers St.)

Boundary Training for Retired Ministers

  • June 2, 2023, 9:15 am-12:30 pm ET
    This training, taught by Rev. Char Burch, is for retired ministers only. This course fulfills the Boundary Training Requirements to maintain standing. This particular training will be offered onsite in conjunction with Annual Meeting. A sandwich lunch will be provided at the end of the class, and it will finish in time for the start of the Annual Meeting. Register here: https://southeastconferenceunitedchurchofchrist-bloom.kindful.com/e/retired-healthy-boundary-training
    (We will be offering another training online later in the year.)


Featured Speakers

Cole Arthur Riley, Writer, Liturgist, Speaker

Cole Arthur Riley is, more than most things, a writer. Born and for the most part raised in Pittsburgh, Cole studied writing at the University of Pittsburgh, but traces her love of words back to her father, who would bribe her and her siblings to write poems and stories to get out of chores, or for cold hard cash; and her gramma who was part writer, part sage.

Cole currently serves as the spiritual teacher in residence with Cornell University’s Office of Spirituality and Meaning Making. She is also the creator of Black Liturgies, a space that integrates spiritual practice with Black emotion, Black literature, and the Black body; and a project of The Center for Dignity and Contemplation, where she serves as Curator.

Some thinkers who have formed her include Audre Lorde, Octavia Butler, James Baldwin, Thomas Merton, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Julian of Norwich.

Cole’s debut book THIS HERE FLESH was an instant New York Times bestseller.

Rev. Teresa L. Fry Brown, PhD, Bandy Professor of Preaching at Candler School of Theology

Rev. Dr. Brown is the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Bandy Professor of Preaching at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Additionally, she is the fourteenth Historiographer, the editor of the A.ME. Review Executive Director of Research and Scholarship and President of the General Officers’ Council of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Dr. Fry Brown served as Director of Black Church Studies at Candler 2007-2015.  Dr. Fry Brown obtained a Doctor of Philosophy in Religious and Theological Studies from the Iliff School of Theology and the University of Denver, with an emphasis in Religion and Social Transformation (1996). She earned a Master of Divinity from Iliff School of Theology (1988), Master of Science degree (1975) and Bachelor of Science degree (1973) in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri.

Dr. Fry Brown has extensive teaching and preaching experience in national, international academic and ecumenical settings. A prolific author, Dr. Fry Brown’s books include Delivering the Sermon: Voice, Body and Animation in Proclamation, Fortress Press (2008); Can A Sister Get a Little Help: Advice and Encouragement for Black Women in Ministry, Pilgrim Press (2008); God Don’t Like Ugly:  African American Women Handing on Spiritual Values Abingdon Press (2000); Weary Throats and New Song: Black Women Proclaiming God’s Word Abingdon Press (2003) and the 2006 African American History Devotional, Abingdon Press (2006).  Additionally, she has published fifty other reviews, chapters, and commentaries.

Dr. Fry Brown is a member of the American Academy of Religion (Steering Committee of Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society Group), Society for the Study of Black Religion, and the Academy of Homiletics (First Vice President 2021, President, December 2022). She was honored for her academic achievements at the Eighteenth Annual Black Religious Scholar Group Consultation at the American Academy of Religion (2015), Emory-Williams Distinguished Teaching Award (2017), Samuel Dewitt Proctor Beautiful Are the Feet Award (2019), and Turner Theological Seminary Lifetime Achievement Award (2021). She is an ordained Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and an Associate Minister at New Bethel A.M.E. Church, Lithonia, Georgia.

A native of Independence, Missouri Dr. Fry Brown is the second oldest of seven children of (late) William M. Fry Sr. and (late) Naomi Parks Fry.  She is the mother of Veronica (Jonathan) Perry and proud “Fab G” to Jonathan David Perry. She is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Dr. Fry Brown’s life is governed by the words of the Prophet Isaiah “Those whose hope is in the Lord gain new strength” and Zora Neale Hurston, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

Rev. Kim Wood, Conference Minister, Southeast Conference

Kim joined the Southeast Conference as our settled Conference Minister in September 2021. She earned her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Aurora University and her Master of Divinity from Bethany Theological Seminary. Kim has served as an associate minister, a solo pastor, a head of staff/senior minister, and a bridge pastor, and she is experienced in both settled and intentional interim ministry. She has worked extensively with congregations in transition, conflict resolution, and revitalization in suburban/urban and rural settings. Kim and her spouse, Ron, celebrate the gift God has given them in a beautiful family that includes four children, their spouses/significant others, and one adorable grandchild. Kim enjoys music, reading, sports, history, and story, learning about other faith traditions, visiting new places and landscapes, game nights with family and friends, and meeting people wherever she might be.

Kim Wood Outside Brick Wall


  • Charis Books and More (Saturday only; will have Cole Arthur Riley’s This Here Flesh, as well as other books)
  • PATHWAYS Theological Education
  • Back Bay Mission
  • Insurance Board
  • UCC Financial Ministries (United Church Funds, Pension Boards, Church Building and Loan, Cornerstone)
  • SECUCC Communities of Practice
  • Harrelson Press
  • Gifts from the Holy Land
  • And more…

Directions to the Conference

Kirkwood United Church of Christ
100 Rogers Street NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30317

Kirkwood UCC is centrally located in the Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta, only four miles from Downtown Atlanta. The Edgewood-Candler Park MARTA station is one mile away; a 4-minute drive or 20-minute walk.

Abundant parking is available one-half block down the street at Toomer Elementary School. Please allow those with mobility issues and families with small children the opportunity to park in the lot at 100 Rogers Street. Signs will direct you to the sanctuary.

Registration and Fees

Annual Meeting Registration: https://southeastconferenceunitedchurchofchrist-bloom.kindful.com/e/imagine-renewing-church-self-annual-meeting-2023

There is the ability to attend in-person in Atlanta or online via Zoom.

Onsite Registration:

  • Adult Entire Meeting: $150
  • Adult Friday Only:$100
  • Adult Saturday Only $100
  • Youth Participants and Leaders: $75
  • Member in Discernment: $75
  • Children: $50

Online Registration:

  • Adult: $100
  • Member in Discernment: $75

Registration for onsite participation will include dinner on Friday, June 2 and lunch on Saturday, June 3. Housing is not included this year, although we do have some room blocks with three Atlanta hotels. See the Housing tab for details.

Delegates and Visitors

Member churches are entitled to voting delegates as follows:

  • Each church is entitled to three voting delegates.
  • Churches with over one hundred members are entitled to one additional delegate for each additional one hundred members or a fraction thereof. For example: 101 members = 4 delegates, 201 members = 5 delegates, 301 delegates = 6 delegates, etc.
  • No church shall be entitled to more than ten delegates.

Only lay members from member churches within the Conference or Ministers with standing in the Conference may be delegates from the Conference to the General Synod of the United Church of Christ or serve as representatives of the Conference for official entities of the United Church of Christ.


Emory Holiday Inn – 2183 N Decatur Rd, Decatur, GA 30033
Room Rate: $149 (with tax and fees $177.83)
Link: Southeast United Church Of Christ  Group Code: UCC
Block Closed May 3, 2023

Marriott Marquis – 265 Peachtree Center Ave NE, Atlanta 30303
Room Rate: $168 (with tax and fees~ $199.88) Parking is $55 a night
Link: https://book.passkey.com/go/SEUCC2023
Block Closed May 5, 2023

Hilton Garden Inn – 275 Baker Street Atlanta, GA 30313
Room Rate: $159 (with tax ~ $190.87) Parking is $40 a night
Link: https://www.hilton.com/en/attend-my-event/southeastconference2023/
Group Code: UCC
Block Closed May 1, 2023

We do not have a block with Airbnb but there are a number of places to rent in the Kirkwood area.

About Our Hosts

Kirkwood United Church of Christ is a progressive Christian community gathered in the Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta. We are a vibrant congregation that worships together and serves together, that cares about others and seeks to be authentic, and is welcoming of all people. We are actively engaged in our community, living out Jesus’ gospel of justice, mercy, love and grace.

Thank you to our sponsors