Annual Conference to join fight against malaria


        Local churches across the North Georgia are being asked to receive a special offering prior to Annual Conference to help fight malaria.
        Bishop Mike Watson has named Imagine No Malaria as the Mission Offering for the 2011 Annual Conference. Imagine No Malaria, an initiative of The United Methodist Church, has a goal of raising $75 million to eradicate malaria deaths in Africa by 2015.  
       Monies collected will be presented during the Service of Remembrance worship service on Thurs., June 16. Half of the offerings received will go directly to fight malaria in Uganda and the other half will go into the Global Fund.
            For more details, go to
         The 2011 Annual Conference, held at the Classic Center in Athens for the twelfth time in thirteen years, begins with the Laity Orientation and Clergy Executive Session at 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 14. The final session ends Friday, June 17 at 5:15 p.m. 
          Online registration for Annual Conference has been available since mid April. All active clergy and lay members are required to register.
           Various hotels in Athens are offering special rates for attendees. A listing of area hotels, along with basic information such as amenities and distance to the Classic Center, can be found at
      For additional information, contact the Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau at 706-357-4410 or 1-800-653-0603. 
         The Clergy Luncheon, sponsored by the Order of Elders, features a performance by Tom Key, creator of the off-Broadway musical hit Cotton Patch Gospel. It will be held at noon, Thursday, June 16. Cost is $20.
        This year’s Annual Conference will follow the theme: “Engaging in Ministry with the Poor.” The emphasis is on the personal call to “Make Me a Servant Humble and Meek ... Lord Let Me Lift Up Those Who are Weak.”
          Jennifer Leslie, a veteran reporter for 11Alive News and a member of Dunwoody UMC, will be the featured speaker at the 2011 Laity Luncheon.      
       The lunch is scheduled for Wednesday, June 15, at the Athena Ballroom at the Classic Center in Athens. Tickets for the $20 buffet are available online at A limited number of tickets will be available on site.       
       Leslie began at 11Alive News in January 1998. She previously worked in broadcast news in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Knoxville, Tenn. She has won six Southern Regional Emmy Awards for live reporting, breaking news and spot news reporting, medical series reporting and her work with 11Alive's web team.
     The Laity Luncheon is sponsored by the Conference Board of Laity.
    Members of the Annual Conference will find a variety of restaurants and shops within walking distance of the Classic Center. 
     The deadline for ordering a display table is Monday, May 9. A separate application must be submitted for each group requesting a tabletop display. No group reservations will be accepted. There is no sharing table space with other groups unless applications have been submitted and approved by the deadline from both groups.
     Tables and table skirts are provided by the Classic Center, as well as one chair per display table.
     Due to the election of delegates to general and jurisdictional conferences, there will not be a mission project scheduled as part of Annual Conference, as in previous years.