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Transcript: Sara Hotchkiss: Managing the Business of General Conference



Every four years, The United Methodist Church comes together for another General Conference, and suddenly thousands of United Methodists are in one city, at one meeting. The person tasked with making sure all runs smoothly is the business manager of General Conference, and in 2016 that duty falls to a young woman with deep roots in the church, and a family connection to General Conference.

(Portland, Oregon)  (April 2015)

Sara Hotchkiss, Business Manager of the United Methodist General Conference:

 “I think it helps that I’m actually an extrovert. So, the people recharge me. And getting to meet people from all over the world, seeing everything come together is exciting and energizing.”

As the Business Manager of the United Methodist Church’s General Conference since 2013, Sara Hotchkiss has had to be a tour guide, a travel agent, a diplomat and an accountant. This native Iowan has to make sure people from around the world make it to the meeting, and that the event planning and execution stays on budget.

Sara Hotchkiss: “I love the work I do. I mean, even the little details of putting something together, I really enjoy that.”

Sara spends a lot of time keeping up with paperwork in her Nashville office at the General Council on Finance and Administration. But there’s also plenty of travel.

(Photo locator: Harare, Zimbabwe)

Like a recent trip to U.S. Homeland Security in Washington, DC to smooth the way for international delegates.

Sara Hotchkiss “The following people are coming through, they speak the following language. And they’re part of us and we’re excited for them to be there. That one little detail can change how the experience is for a delegate coming to General Conference.”

2016 in Portland will mark Sara’s third General Conference.

Sara Hotchkiss: “I am the child of a United Methodist pastor. So, I have been a United Methodist since before I was born. And I also am blessed to have a family that were missionaries, back to my great grandparents.”

It means a lot to Sara that she can follow in her family’s footsteps and serve her church in a vital role.

Sara Hotchkiss: “You have to think of it as a ministry, that it’s not just a job that I go to each day or traveling. My dad wrote something that has struck me very personally. He’s been a delegate at conference. He’s actually my roommate at General Conference because he serves in some different functions. He brought me a hymnal with the logo on it in 2008. And he wrote in there, “I always knew you’d be in the ministry. I didn’t know it’d be this ministry, but I’m proud of you.”

Sara enjoys the global fellowship at general conference and she wants church members at home to know about a way they can join in.

Sara Hotchkiss: “They can pray for us. We have a prayer guide that I work with The Upper Room. We put it out in the different languages. And we are praying together, the same thing, through all the countries and the places that we have United Methodists. I can’t even hardly put into words the privilege and the experiences that I’ve been able to have in the work that I do, to be able to connect with United Methodists all over the world who are worshipping the same God in their own language in their own culture it’s just absolutely amazing. Everyone should know about. We’re in this together. It’s wonderful.”