Booths Educate and Engage
Delegates and visitors to the United Methodist 2012 General Conference can visit several displays that are meant to inform and engage those attending the church gathering in Tampa, Florida.
Prayer Room Offers Sacred Space
Volunteers created a special prayer space, and offered special prayers, for the delegates and attendees to the United Methodist 2012 General Conference in Tampa, Florida. Delegate Rose Booker-Jones appeciates the effort. "As United Methodists, we are people of prayer. Prayer is just a daily part of my living...That's one tool, one instrument, that God has given us to continue to be in communication with him." Play Video
Produce Drop Pounds Hunger
United Methodist volunteers helped bag 40,000 pounds of cucumbers for distribution by local feeding agencies across Central Florida as part of the 2012 General Conference in Tampa. The United Methodist Church partners with the Society of St. Andrew in ministry to the hungry. The Society of St. Andrew, founded in 1979, coordinates more than 30,000 volunteers, and distributes more than 25 million pounds of fresh produce that would otherwise have been wasted.
Bar Church Serves All
A former stand-up comedian and bartender offers an unusual alternative to traditional church. United Methodist pastor Jerry Herships' After Hours Denver holds worship services in bars. Herships believes that in today's world you have to reach people where they are. This is not a new idea. Herships says, "Jesus never said, 'If you need me, I'll be in the temple.' Jesus was always out in the world." The congregation makes a commitment to community service their main focus.
World Malaria Day
Thousands attending the 2012 General Conference in Tampa, Florida witnessed a flash mob complete with giant mosquitoes to raise awareness about malaria. Bishop John Yambasu, Sierra Leone Area, and Bishop Thomas Bickerton, Pittsburgh Area, described how communications, community health clinics and ongoing education continue to be a driving force in "swatting" out the disease. The United Methodist global health ministry, Imagine No Malaria, has helped reduce the death rate from malaria from one life every 60 seconds, to one life every 30 seconds. Learn more at http://imaginenomalaria.org. Play Video.
The Art of A Lost Boy
James Makuac is one of The Lost Boys of Sudan. In 1987, a civil war drove more than 36,000 young boys between the ages of 5 and 15 from their families and villages in South Sudan. They walked more than 1,000 miles to refugee camps first in Ethiopia, then Sudan, and finally Kenya. More than half died on their journey. Makuac learned to paint in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya to preserve the story of The Lost Boys of Sudan. Today Makuac is a U.S. citizen residing in Nashville, Tennessee. His art has been on display at a local art gallery and was featured in the keynote address of the United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Florida. To learn more, visit http://TheLostBoysFoundation.org. Play video.
Private Prison Protest
More than 500 people protested the private prison industry that targets immigrants and people of color. Bishop Minerva Carcaño of the Phoenix Area and Bishop Julius Trimble of the Iowa Area, co-chairs of the United Methodist Immigration Task Force, led the rally. Speakers included a Florida immigration advocate and church members from around the U. S., the Philippines and Germany. In 2011, the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits prohibited investments in companies deriving revenue from private prisons. The board added private prisons as the sixth screen guided by the denomination's Social Principles. The April 28 rally was held in Tampa, Florida during the 2012 General Conference. Play Video.
Laity Address: Dr. Steve Furr
As a family physician, Dr. Steve Furr knows that patients expect him to lead by example. When Furr put on weight to the point he could no longer wear his wedding band, the doc vowed to change. Through a steady "diet" of exercise and strengthening of faith, Furr lost the weight. Furr also gained a new understanding of how he could inspire others to live healthier lives. Watch his inspirational story. Play Video.
Congo Family Singers
The Kamana siblings from Congo sang at the evening worship service on April 30 during the 2012 General Conference in Tampa, Florida. The five children, ranging from 9 to 21 years of age, had a four-day visit to the conference and churches in Central Florida. The group consists of Patrick, 21; brother Providence, 18; sister Dorcas, 15; and the younger brothers, Welcome (Bienvenu), 11, and Desire, 9. Their father, the Rev. Bievenu Kamana Sr., accompanied them. He is director of connectional ministries for the West Congo Annual (regional) Conference of the denomination and a pastor. Play Video.
Africa University "Dream"
Since its founding in 1992, the story of Africa University has been told by thousands of students who dare to change the world. Ana Carvalho, Africa University Class of 1996, says the school "was the stepping stone for everything that I have achieved in life." The school was started through the efforts of local United Methodist congregations who gave their support through apportionments and direct scholarships. Play Video.
Ministry with the Roma
The United Methodist Church has a goal to be in ministry with the poor. Church members are welcoming the Roma people, called Gypsies, in Hungary who have faced discrimination for centuries.
Spark 12, Leadership
An initiative to encourage more young people as clergy in The United Methodist Church is called Spark 12. It got its name because there were 12 disciples who helped to ignite a passion for Jesus Christ. Spark 12 hopes to provide new opportunities for leadership and feed a desire to change the world. Play Video.
Urban Village, Church Growth
The United Methodist church known as Urban Village is a new place for new people. The church does not own a building; instead it is "people focused before being property focused." Urban Village meets at several different sites and reaches out to those who are intimidated by a traditional worship experience. Play Video.
Ziemer on Malaria
Rear Adm. Tim Ziemer, the U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator, acknowledges that The United Methodist Church has been an important partner in the fight against malaria.
COSROW Turns 40
In 1972, the United Methodist General Conference affirmed the full clergy rights of women. The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women is now 40 years old and continues its work to raise awareness of the ongoing challenges that women in ministry face. Play Video.
George Tinker, Act of Repentance
At the Act of Repentance toward Healing Relationship with Indigenous Peoples, George Tinker, of the Osage Nation, reminded listeners that "We're all a part of Creation." He was one of several presenters at the two-hour service which took place on April 27 during the United Methodist 2012 General Conference in Tampa, Florida. Play Video.