Q&A: 2020 Virtual Annual Conference Sessions

7/29/2020

Updated August 17, 2020
 
The 2020 virtual Annual Conference session 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 will include only items before the Annual Conference that are essential at this time so that the session can be conducted in one day.

Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions below. (And if you don't see the answer to your question, ask it here!)
 
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 smartphone. You will access the session using a web browser.

(NEW) Do I need a webcam? If I have a webcam, will I need to turn it on?
No. Similar to the Pre-Conference Briefing, members of the Annual Conference will view video of the session, but won't have an option to turn on their own camera or microphone. 

(NEW) Can two members share a device?
No. Each member will need their own internet-connected device. 
 
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, and other essential business. The full agenda is 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. Register here.
 
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 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.     

(NEW) How can I watch the Virtual Annual Conference as a visitor?
Register by August 25 at a Visitor at ngumc.org/AC2020. Three days before the Annual Conference you will receive log-in instructions to your email. You will be able to view the entire session through a web browser on your internet-connected desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone. 
 
Is there a registration fee for Virtual Annual Conference?
No. The registration fee has been waived for Annual Conference 2020.

Will there be a Pre-Conference Briefing?
Yes! There was a Pre-Conference Briefing for all districts via Zoom Webinar on Sunday, August 9. Watch it here

(New) I have a question about district realignment. Where can I find more information?
Find an informational video, plus an FAQ at https://www.ngumc.org/district-restructure.

(New) Many Conference-level leaders will extend their service. Will they continue for 1 year or for another 4 years?
Where possible, conference committee members and members of boards have agreed to serve for one additional year. 

I had a hotel reservation in Athens. Should I cancel it?
Yes. Each individual should cancel their hotel reservations. 

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 9 – Pre-Conference Briefing 
August 10 to 25 – Annual Conference Registration
August 26 – Registered Members Receive Credentials for Annual Conference by Email
August 29 – Virtual Annual Conference Session


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