When
Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Q&A: 2020 Virtual Annual Conference Sessions
6/17/2020
As Conference leaders navigate planning for Annual Conference 2020 as responsibly as they can, they have determined that we cannot meet the needed safety measures that would be necessary to host an in-person Annual Conference Session in August. 
 
The Annual Conference Planning Committee met June 9 and approved plans for the North Georgia Conference to instead hold a virtual Clergy Executive Session on July 16 and a virtual Annual Conference Session on August 29. The plan was approved by the Cabinet. 
 
The virtual sessions will utilize a trusted online meeting and voting platform that will allow members to securely participate using an internet-connected device. The platform will also allow guests to view the Annual Conference session. A condensed agenda is being developed and will include only items before the Annual Conference that are essential at this time so that the session can be conducted in one day.

 
 
What safety measures were needed to hold an in-person Annual Conference?
An in-person Annual Conference would have required staggered entry and exit, signed health affidavits, maintaining 6 feet of physical distancing, face coverings, limited food and beverage operations, limited restroom availability, additional cleaning protocols, reduced capacity for the space we had reserved, and other considerations. Due to the number of members of our Annual Conference it is not realistic for us to meet the necessary requirements.  
 
What technology do I need to participate in a virtual Annual Conference?
Members and guests will need an internet-connected device such as a desktop or laptop computer, tablet, or smart phone. You will access the session using a web browser.
 
What will be included in the agenda for the virtual Annual Conference?
The agenda will include the Recommended 2021 Apportionment Budget, Standing Rules, Trustees Report, other essential business, as well as opening and closing worship.  The full agenda will be included in the Annual Conference Handbook.
 
What about agenda items we aren’t able to include this year?
We will take up postponed agenda items and celebrations at the 2021 Annual Conference.
 
What about Ordination?
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry has offered this guidance: “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the timing for annual conference and clergy sessions across our connection, including the Ordering of Ministry services. … Judicial Council Decision 1181 (http://ee.umc.org/decisions/42107) states that clergy attain provisional or full membership immediately upon clergy session approval. Membership is not dependent upon their participation in the commissioning or ordination service. Therefore, those elected by the 2020 clergy session immediately enter their new membership status. … The Discipline does not speak to a time limitation between the date of election and date of ordination or commissioning, so conferences have the authority to consider their best options for holding the Order of Ministry service. They may choose to hold the service later in 2020 or in 2021.”
 
When will we celebrate Retirements and the Service of Remembrance?
Celebrating retirements as a Conference and remembering the saints who have gone before us are treasured times for our Conference. 2020 Retirees will be celebrated at the 2021 Annual Conference. We will remember the names of the clergy, clergy spouses, and laity who passed away this year at the 2021 Annual Conference.
 
Will there be registration for Virtual Annual Conference?
Yes. Each member will be required to register for Annual Conference.
 
I'm a lay member of AC2020. How do I get voting credentials for the virtual Annual Conference?
To participate in Annual Conference 2020 with voting privileges, lay members will be required to have a unique, personal email address on record in the conference Data Services by August 7. (Churches are responsible for updating their lay member's contact information, including email address, in Data Services by August 7.)

Lay members will use their email address to register for Annual Conference between August 10th and 25th. Note that for security purposes, only the email address in Data Services can be used to issue voting credentials. Voting credentials will be emailed three days prior to the meeting.
 
I'm a clergy member of the conference. How do I get voting credentials for the virtual Clergy Executive Session?
Clergy members must use their ngumc.net email address to register for the virtual Clergy Executive Session between July 6th and 13th.  Voting credentials for the Clergy Executive Session will be emailed to ngumc.net email addresses two days prior to the meeting.    

I'm a clergy member of the conference. How do I get voting credentials for the virtual Annual Conference?
Clergy members must use their ngumc.net email address to register for Annual Conference 2020 between August 10th and 25th. Voting credentials for AC2020 will be emailed to ngumc.net email addresses three days prior to the meeting.     
 
Is there a registration fee for Virtual Annual Conference?
No. The registration fee has been waved for Annual Conference 2020.

I have more questions about Virtual Annual Conference. How do I stay informed?
Regularly check www.ngumc.org/AC2020 where we will post information as it is available.
 
Timeline
July 6-13 – Clergy Executive Session Registration
July 14 – Registered Clergy Receive Credentials for Executive Session by Email
July 16 – Virtual Clergy Executive Session
August 7 – Laity must have personal email address on record in conference Data Services
August 10 and 25 – Annual Conference Registration
August 26 – Registered Members Receive Credentials for Annual Conference by Email
August 29 – Virtual Annual Conference Session