Do you ever wonder what Jesus would do in our current political climate? Does it seem like even Christians can’t seem to agree? Join us for a safe place to engage in conversation and informed discussion about the pressing topics of our day at the Embrace All Conference, Sept. 27–29.
We will gather at the West Morris Street Free Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, to address such topics as immigration, criminal justice reform, poverty, racial reconciliation, multicultural church, gender dynamics, and community renewal. SEED will be present with fair trade goods from our brothers and sisters around the world, and every full registrant will receive a SEED bag. International Child Care Ministries Director Linda Adams will serve as emcee.
The event will begin Thursday morning with opening devotions by John Wesley FMC Lead Pastor Kenny Martin. John Wesley Prayer and Cross Cultural Pastor Donna Saylor and Assistant Pastor Estelle Martin will lead a concert of prayer including prayers of repentance, as we seek the Lord’s forgiveness for all the ways we have failed to embrace all. West Morris Senior Pastor Kristen Bennett Marble will share how the Old Testament prophets apply today. North Central Conference Administrator Alma Jasinski will share her story of life as an immigrant. Sociologist Anisi Daniels-Smith, the director of Hiram College’s Emerging Scholars Program, will address racism, and River Conference Co-Superintendent Amelia Cleveland-Traylor will offer a road forward. River Conference Urban Ministry Director Fred Lynch will share from Ezekiel how to sit with an unsettled issue. Kristy Hinds, the author of “Redeemed: The Power of a Single Story” and an assistant superintendent of the Free Methodist Church in Southern California, will present the power of story before the participants receive time to share their own stories. The evening will end with a service of lament, allowing participants to grieve for ways we have fallen short of what God desires.
At General Conference 2015, the Embrace All initiative stressed the need for a more inclusive church. Since then, the denomination has made gains in superintendents who are female and people of color, and in female lead pastors. We will celebrate these gains at our event. On Friday, FM Elder Laura J. Hunt will address gender issues in the church followed by a panel of current female and African-American superintendents. In the afternoon, a panel of multicultural pastors will address issues facing the church. Free Methodist missionary, pastor, professor and author Howard Snyder and River Conference Co-Superintendent Michael Traylor will close out the evening.
Saturday will provide practical workshops. Jasinski will focus on reaching out to local immigrants. Hunt will offer practical solutions to navigating gender in the church. Bonnie Brann of the Set Free Movement will teach a workshop on human trafficking. New Beginnings Community Church Pastor Jeffery Harrold will explain systemic racism in America and steps we can take to dismantle it. Chaplain Dorcas McCown will address criminal justice reform. City Gospel Mission President Roger Howell will teach on “When Helping Hurts” and a second workshop on “Understanding Poverty.” Resolution Church Lead Pastor Jill Richardson will discuss how to speak up for justice without sinning. LYN House Director Heidi L. Lyda will teach on community renewal from the perspective of Jeremiah’s prophecy. Health Project Coordinator Jennifer Deal Becker and FM Elder Scott Gibbons will share on creation care and environmental justice. Hinds and Kathy Callahan-Howell will engage participants in an experience of racial reconciliation.
Registration is just $35 for the entire conference, or $10 for the Saturday workshops only. You can register at westmorrisfm.org/embrace-all. If you have questions, email KCallahanH@aol.com. Come join us as we learn how to better Embrace All!