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Annual Conference



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Registration is now open for the twenty-eighth annual session of the Dakotas Conference of The United Methodist Church. The two-day event will take place in a hybrid format. View the schedule.  Here are a few questions people have been asking about this year's conference.

What is meant by a hybrid conference?
The hybrid format will feature an opportunity to gather for business in-person on Friday, June 11, 2021, at one of these four locations:

  • First United Methodist Church, Fargo, North Dakota
  • McCabe United Methodist Church, Bismarck, North Dakota
  • First United Methodist Church, Rapid City, South Dakota
  • Sioux Falls Convention Center, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

The Sioux Falls Convention Center will serve as the broadcast site, with all speakers and videos broadcasting to the three other locations. The agenda for Friday will focus on business, with voting taking place at each location.

Saturday, June 12, 2021, will be a day of equipping and learning. Participants can join in person at the Sioux Falls Convention Center or from their device virtually. Whether you attend in-person or virtually, all sessions will have an interactive feature with the presenters and audience.

When and how do I register?
Registration is now open online here.  To obtain voting privileges and attend one of the necessary pre-conference gatherings, you must register by Friday, May 21, 2021, at 5 p.m. CDT.  Only the worship services including opening worship, Celebration of Life in Ministry Service, and closing worship will be live-streamed for public viewing.  

Why is there a registration fee? 
The registration fee for voting delegates is $115. Non-voting clergy spouses and visitors can register and attend for a fee of $25 per day.  

The fee covers the costs for the hybrid conference, including presenters fee, charges for the technology platforms— a Zoom webinar premier paid account(s)are necessary, production costs at each of the sites, support for each of the participants and presenters, worship service expenses, as well as lunch at each of the sites on Friday. 

Can I watch everything on the Livestream and not register?
Only the worship services will be available to the general public via Livestream on the conference website. These are the services and times of broadcast:

  • June 11, 2021, 8:30 a.m., CDT, opening worship with the episcopal address presented by Bishop Laurie Haller.
  • June 11, 2021, 7:00 p.m., CDT, Celebration of Life in Ministry Service, a time when we remember those clergy and conference leaders who have left this earthly home to be with Jesus, celebrate clergy entering retirement, bless local pastors entering a ministry, and commission and ordain new clergy.
  • June 12, 2021, 4:30 p.m., CDT, closing worship, where we will set the clergy appointments and remember our baptisms.

What will be the COVID safety protocols in place?
COVID-19 precautions, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and the North Dakota and South Dakota Departments of Health, will be in place, including requiring everyone to wear a mask at all locations and following social distancing guidelines. 

What is the Pre-Conference Gathering, and why should I attend?
There will be four Pre-Conference Gathering sessions held virtually via Zoom webinar. These sessions will inform delegates about how voting will occur, the 2022 budget proposal, the nominations report, the consent calendar, and any other items in the Conference Workbook. This will be an opportunity to discuss the legislation happening during the conference. There will be little time during the actual session for discussion about these issues. Participants must take this time to get their questions answered. Connection information will be sent via e-mail to each registered participant in advance of your session. 

Please register for one of the Pre-Conference Gatherings when you register for Annual Conference:

  • Thursday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. CDT, 6:30 p.m. MDT
  • Saturday, May 22, at 10:00 a.m. CDT, 9:00 a.m. MDT
  • Sunday, May 22, at 6:30 p.m. CDT, 5:30 p.m. MDT
  • Wednesday, May 26, at 8:00 p.m. CDT, 7:00 p.m. MDT

If you were unable to attend one of those gatherings, you may review recordings of one gathering here.

Is there any support for people who have difficulty attending virtually on Saturday or anytime during the conference?

There will be technical support and detailed instructions at each location on Friday, June 11, 2021, for voting or requesting to speak. 

Participants can join the learning sessions on Saturday, June 12, 2021, on their device virtually or attend the Sioux Falls Convention Center. The sessions will take place in the Zoom business webinar platform (this is different from the Zoom system most people are familiar with). 

Attend a technology check-in session to learn how you can maximize your participation. Each session is about 35 minutes; there is time to assist those who might have connection issues. The two-session options are:

  • Saturday, June 5 at 12 p.m. CDT, 11 a.m. MDT
  • Sunday, June 6 at 7:30 p.m. CDT, 6:30 p.m. MDT

Virtual participants on Saturday will also be able to call 605-996-6552 to receive connection support.

Will childcare be provided?
Annual conference is an event for the entire family!  Childcare for children age 0-11 will be available on Friday, June 11, 2021, at Asbury United Methodist Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, First United Methodist Church in Fargo, North Dakota, First United Methodist Church in Rapid City, South DakotaMcCabe United Methodist Church in Bismarck, North Dakota. Childcare for children age 0-10 will be available on Saturday, June 12, 2021, at Sioux Falls, South Dakota. You must pre-register for Childcare when you register for Annual Conference; walk-ins cannot be accomodated.

I don't see a time for clergy session on the schedule, when is clergy session?
The 2021 Clergy Session will be held virtually on May 25, 2021, at 12:30 p.m. MDT, 1:30 p.m. CDT. Clergy will be asked to register for the session to receive the link to the Zoom webinar and instructions about participation.  Clergy should look for upcoming communication about how to register and other details. 

Do you have questions we have not answered?
You may still have some questions that we have not answered please feel free to reach out to one of us. Here is a list of people and the role that they play for annual conference. 
Conference Secretary: Amber Laffey | e-mail 
Worship: Lou Whitmer | e-mail
Agenda Coordinator: Duane Coates | e-mail
Registration, Lay Equalization: Susan Punt | e-mail
Event logistics, hotel reservations: Bea Stucke | e-mail 
Technology, voting: Doreen Gosmire | e-mail 


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