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United Methodist Communications Offers General Conference Training Online

United Methodist Communications
Office of Public Information
810 12th Ave. S.
Nashville, TN 37203
www.umcpresscenter.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 20, 2007

For Further Information:
Diane Denton
(615)742-5406 or (615)483-1765

United Methodist Communications Offers General Conference Training Online

NASHVILLE: United Methodist Communications is offering a five-session online course for those who want to learn more about General Conference. The free course has garnered more than 150 participants in only the first three days, and is expected to gain momentum as General Conference 2008 approaches.

"The course is ideal for anyone attending the 2008 General Conference, including communicators and delegates, as well as United Methodists interested in learning more about how the denomination makes decisions," said site administrator Cheryl A. Hemmerle. "Participants can begin the course at any time between Nov. 15 and Dec. 26, 2007, and move through the sessions at their own pace."

"I will be attending General Conference as a marshal," said Betty Jackson of Ebenezer United Methodist Church in New Johnsonville, Tenn. "I'm really excited about going. I'm taking this course in hope it will give me an idea of what will be going on."

In addition to many interactive features such as videos and quizzes, participants can engage in facilitated discussion forums to ask questions and share ideas. The goal of the course is to give participants a basic working knowledge of the church's legislative process through General Conference.

"I have been a member of The United Methodist Church since 1986 after spending most of my life in two other denominations," said Arthur Sponagel of St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Las Cruces, N.M. "One thing I like about Methodism is you are expected to continue studying. I hope to learn more about how the church operates."

Course materials include information about:

  • The history, role and purpose of General Conference
  • How delegates are elected, their role and responsibilities
  • How petitions, the general church budget and other important matters are decided through General Conference
  • Social issues facing The United Methodist Church and the denomination's stance on those issues
  • The highlights of the 2004 General Conference and what's ahead for 2008

To register for the course, visit http://training.umcom.org. For more information, call (888) 278-4862 or e-mail training@umcom.org. Additional sessions will be offered from January to May 2008 leading up to the 2008 General Conference.