All workshops for the 2022 General Conference will be pre-recorded and available via the General Conference App. All workshops will be available for 6 months after Conference through the App. We encourage you to use these workshops for personal spiritual or professional development, church programming, and training. Here is a list of the workshops and presenters:
Being Transformed: Building an Anti-Culture: Anti-Oppression Justice Community
Presenters: Dr. Carla Sherrell and Maya Nath
During this 60-minute workshop, attendees will learn how to participate in the deconstruction and disruption of cultures that undergird and support normalized privilege and systems of racism, bias, and oppression. The workshop will speak to the role of human agency in creating an inclusive community of diversity, living in love, equity, and justice as the ultimate paradigm God desired for the world.
Building Rainbow Bridges: MCC Spiritual Advocacy with People on the Inside
Presenter: Rev. Martha Daniels
Learn about the opportunity for spiritual advocacy in MCC to work with and for LGBTQ+ people who are incarcerated. Most LGBTQIA+ identified people who are incarcerated who identify as do not have adequate (or, indeed, any) appropriate spiritual support, both while they are on the inside or after release. As MCC, part of our calling is to provide spiritual care to LGBTQ+ individuals throughout society—which includes the carceral system. This workshop will include suggested training for clergy and lay members, support for those engaged in this ministry, recruitment of clergy and laity for the work, how-tos on various aspects of spiritual advocacy (court support, pen pals, public advocacy, jail/prison visits, and more), as well as locating resources to carry out the work.
Change Cycle as a Backdrop for the Pandemic
Presenter: Rev. Elder Lillie Brock
As we continue to deal with the uncertainty of the Covid-19 virus around the world, we find ourselves in the challenging space where the disruptions of the virus are still with us AND, the opportunity to reimagine ourselves is ripe with possibilities. The Change Cycle is a model developed to track and clarify the human side of organizational change and the predictable stages humans will traverse. In this session, we will explore several things:
What the Change Cycle teaches us about the impact of a change like the pandemic.
How to use the Change Cycle to both process the changes of the last couple of years and to plan for the future beyond it.
The three things that will make us or break us.
The Change Cycle is a tool that can be your map to better navigate the white water of change and transition. It is worth your time to learn how to use this valuable tool.
Children’s Church Space
Presenter: Min. Aurelia “Rae” Lewis
Pre-Pandemic, the Children’s Church Ministry Space was filled with teachings and the fostering of biblical and familiar scriptures, prayers, and the feeling of community. Post pandemic, it is clear that the needs of the youth and young adults are more critical than ever. A rise in abuse cases of more than triple pre-pandemic is an alert to organizations across the globe that the need for children’s safety and care must be at the forefront and hearts of God’s people. This workshop will serve as a tool to reinforce the importance of a safe space for children within the Ministry. Clergy, Pastors, Lay Leaders, and Parents will benefit from understanding the importance of cultivating a safe space for children to express themselves, invite them to the teachings of Jesus, identify resources that may be beneficial to them, their family, and their friends. Providing a safe space for children, youth and young adults will cultivate eternal happiness, balance worldly influences, help them understand the love of God for themselves and provide an invitation to all those who are supportive in their future.
Contemplation: Experiencing God’s Presence in Daily Life
Rpresenter: Rev. Sandro Aurélio
When we think about the experience of the “Presence of God”, what may come to mind are church services, moments of prayers, worship, or the sacraments such as Baptism and Holy Communion. We may perceive a God who, in Bishop Spong’s words, is “a being with supernatural powers, who dwells outside this world and periodically invades it to carry out the divine will.” This perception, found in several Christian religions, however, seems limited when contrasted with the experience of God in our lived realities or the existence of God imbedded in the world and all of existence. For the church to contemplate the “Presence of God” in daily life, this workshop will use the concept of “Profanation” of the philosopher Agamben and its tools to reduce the separation created by the “us in the world” and the “God in the heavens”. According to Agamben, “to consecrate (sacrare) was the term that designated the departure of things from the sphere of human right, and to profane, in turn, meant to restore them to the free use of [humans]. Profane in the proper sense is that which, from being sacred or religious, is returned to the use and property of [humans]”. So, to experience the “Presence of God” in our ordinary life is an exercise of “profanation”. It is essentially a desecration, participating in the essence of God in creation, interacting with creation and recreating its essence. It’s a desecration, for touching, editing, creating, mixing with the divine, who contemplates and participates in things. Whoever contemplates interacts with the object of its contemplation. It is here that we look for a way to “profane the unfathomable”, not as a whim, but as a “duty”.
Creating a Writing Ministry
Peter Covington, Rev. Dr. Robin Hawley Gorsline, and Jacqueline Lois
Join us in learning how to create and support a writing ministry at your church. This panel discussion includes an experiential exercise on how to share diverse voices in Community. To go deeper after this workshop, visit this page with a link to a book that has come from this transformational ministry: https://www.godofmyunderstandingvoicesofmccdc.com
Entering the 5 Gates of Sorrow
Presenter: Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri
Our lives can be summarized easily in the moments and things that bring us the greatest joys and the greatest sorrows. Sometimes those things are even connected. In this workshop, we welcome you to enter into the 5 Gates of Sorrow with us. Meditate and lay down your burdens as we contemplate on the 5 Gates: Gate 1: All that we love we will lose; Gate 2.The places that did not receive love; Gate 3: The sorrows of the world; Gate 4: What we expected but did not receive; Gate 5: Ancestral grief. In this workshop, we will explore where the idea of these Gates originated, how to enter the gates, and come up with ideas of how to help others in your church or community to find meaningful practice in engaging in them. About halfway through the workshop, you will be invited to enter into each Gate for just a few minutes to get a sense of what that Gate holds for you.
Foundations of Diversity + Inclusion
Presenter: Evangeline Weiss
Diversity as a term is used to denote many things. This workshop seeks to help us understand the characteristics of diversity, identify the skills and attributes to work across differences, discuss why the investment in diversity and inclusion work is important to everyone in an organization, and ponder what additional skills need development to be well-rounded leaders. Through her experience the facilitator will educate participants on all of the ways diversity impacts everyone in the ways we worship, connect, and lead.
What They Don’t Tell You About Funerals
Presenter: Rev. Michael Hydes
This brief workshop will guide you through the practice of funerals. Funerals are a focal point of work for those serving in pastoral roles. When someone dies, it is both a sorrowful and spiritual time for the family and friends of the departed. This workshop seeks to guide pastoral carers with practical advice from someone with knowledge in the practical and spiritual needs of family and friends. Participants receive a Funeral Handbook which provides well-rounded advice in topic areas such as; services, liturgies, readings, eulogies, and much more.
Generating Generosity – Looking Beyond Stewardship
Presenters: Rev. Dr. Kharma Amos, Doug Berger, Sarah-Jane Ramage, and Marsha Warren
Stewardship in this context is described as an annual “ask” for a financial commitment to the church. This request may be a formal written pledge or a verbal agreement. It is essential to note that it is not the traditional “time, talent, and treasures” approach. The power of asking for a written commitment should never be underestimated. This committed pledge from those who are willing serves as their commitment and is honored. Stewardship can serve as a representation of a commitment to those who are unable to give financially and is supported by their time and or talents. Communication is vital and should be a part of the church’s common language to include the options or types of commitments and an overview of the success of those who have made pledges.
Many spiritual settings have received a reputation of “always asking for money”. However, these settings should not be embarrassed to educate and inform on the notion of generous giving.
This conversation will highlight the various ways that stewardship is both financially freeing for those who give and to the many ways it serves to change the community, while providing sustainability to the church. Various approaches for stewardship is a blessing to the various spiritual journeys the church body encounters. The desire is to be faithful with God’s resources in whatever situation we’re in.
Lived Theology and the World Church as Public Priesthood
Presenter: Dr. Sabrina Müeller
This workshop seeks to lead participants in a discussion of how our lived theology and the Church are impacted by a postmodern society. The following topics will be covered:
Public Priesthood and
Led by a practical theologian who has studied religious experience across multiple countries, expect to be enlightened and fascinated by this theological overview.
Making These Stained Glass Walls Talk: Tending to Spiritual Trauma in our Faith
Presenter: Indhira Udofia
If you are interested in creating safer and trauma sensitive spaces for those who have been harmed by religion, this workshop is for you. This workshop focuses on spiritual and religious trauma 101, navigating personal histories of spiritual traumas, and ecclesial and community considerations for spiritual trauma and care. The participants will leave this time with a better understanding of how religious harm and violence impact us, our worship spaces, and our ability to provide pastoral care. This workshop provides an opportunity to deeply examine faith and trauma through a lens of love and care.
Now Recruiting! MCC Chaplains in the U.S. Armed Forces and in the VA
Presenters: Rev. Lea Brown with Rev. Michelle Kirby and Rev. Dave Plummer
In the U.S. armed forces today, there are thousands of LGBTQ+ individuals who are in great need of chaplains who understand their unique experiences, wounds and spirituality.
Unfortunately, however, the vast majority of chaplains available to the LGBTQ+ community in uniform are ordained and endorsed by faith traditions that do not affirm or support LGBTQ+ people. There are very few chaplains in uniform who will perform same-gender marriages, baptize and bless the children of LGBTQ+ families, provide queer-affirming spiritual support and counseling or lead worship services that honor and celebrate LGBTQ+ people.
And the need doesn’t stop when LGBTQ+ people separate from the military. LGBTQ+ veterans served by VA medical centers around the country need MCC-ordained chaplains too! The VA is the largest integrated health care system in the U.S., with 171 medical centers around the country. But right now, there are only three MCC-ordained chaplains serving within this enormous system.
It doesn’t have to be this way any longer! As of 2021, we now have a path for MCC-ordained clergy to serve as U.S. military chaplains, either in the reserves or on active duty.
If you feel that God may be calling you to serve as a military or VA chaplain, don’t miss this workshop! Complete details will be provided about the ministries, chaplaincy requirements, compensation and benefits of both. This workshop will be led by Rev. Dr. Lea Brown, who is currently serving as a chaplain at the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, NC.
Online Church Hybrid Worship
Presenters: Rev. Colleen Darraugh, Jeff Raynor, and Leo Rossetti
Tips, best practices and things to think about to develop your online church and hybrid worship are presented in this webinar. Rev. Colleen Darraugh, Jeff Raynor and Leo Rosetti share examples and learnings from their local digital ministry. This session is for pastors and lay digital team members of any church size. It’s not just for techies! Whether you have just recently started livestreaming or have been broadcasting a long time; whether you use one cell phone or have multiple cameras; whether you have an inexperienced volunteer or a well-trained team – this webinar will offer ideas and considerations you may not have thought about that will help your ministry move forward with intention. Small changes can make a big difference. These keywords and concepts will be explored: vision, invest, visuals, engagement, and resources. Free resources and ones that cost are shared in this informative session.
Presenter: Rev. Dr. Ana Ester
The questions (and subversions) made by the Queer Studies concerning the claim of sexual and gender immutabilities, when thought of within the spiritual experience, make us question the images and dogmas of the traditional and hegemonic Christianity that contribute to this notion of immutable identities. In this sense, thinking about the fluidity of sexuality and gender somehow implies thinking about the fluidity of images and representations of Christian theological systematics, such as the idea of God for example. To raise these and other questions this workshop presents a queer spirituality based on Marcella Althaus-Reid’s Indecent Theology. The Argentine’s theologian collaborates with Latin American and decolonial theological perspectives, based on the experiences of sexual and gender dissidents. The purpose of the workshop is to think about God from other semantic places, moving the cisheteropatriarchal God to the decolonial experiences of Latin America. After all, queer spirituality must be decolonial, emancipatory and revolutionary.
Trust the Process: A Six Year Book Writing Journey
Presenter: Angeline Jackson
Once upon a time, Angeline was skeptical about how many people had published books. It seemed the quality of the content was subpar, and people published because it was easy. Thankfully, she doesn’t think like that anymore.
She thinks everyone has a story to share. Some may share these stories in written formats for public engagement, while others may produce stories for their own benefit. Whatever the reason, your words can hold transformative power, and if you choose to share, others can be transformed by those words.
In this workshop, Angeline discusses the reasons she chose to write her book, Funny Gyal: My Fight Against Homophobia in Jamaica. She talks about the process of the book from its idea phase in 2015 to publication in 2022, including: rejections from agents, navigating racial, cultural, and other obstacles, resisting suggestions to change the book’s content, how the co-writing process worked for her, and the importance of trust in the overall process of book writing and publishing. She will give a 5-8 minute reading from the book. Workshop viewers will be invited to reflect on the themes they hear in the reading and how they are impacted by the passage. She will then shift the focus of the workshop to discussing how writing can be transformative for both the author and the reader. She ends the workshop with an introduction to writing as a spiritual practice and invites viewers to write.
UFMCC Board of Pensions (USA) Presentation
Presenters: UFMCC Board of Pensions: Dave Barton, Rev. Elder Lillie Brock, Rev. Craig Cranston, Rev. Tom Emmett, Ronald Moore, Rev. Wes Mullins, Tim Perry, Frieda Smith, Rev. Dr. Roland Stringfellow, and Keith Thompson
Wondering about when you can retire? Do you know how to update your beneficiary? Do you know how to estimate your retirement benefit? Are you curious about how the work of Board of Pensions has been going? Watch this video for the update from the Board of Pensions that is provided at each and every General Conference.