Annual Conference Isn't for the Poor

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Northern Illinois Costs a Bit

While many churches do pay a portion or all for lay or clergy members to attend, those who attend by virtue of their office, i.e.UMM or UMW presidents, have to foot the bill themselves. Equalization puts a burden on many lay folks and almost eliminates youth and young adults. The conference in its efforts to control apportionments are passing the costs on to individuals rather than spreading the costs amongst the whole of the church.

Roger Curless more than 3 years ago

Thanks for voicing this concern!

Indiana' s Annual Conference was also pricey to attend. As I looked around it seemed to me to be representative of the upper middle class "in" crowd...very few youth, not much diversity, etc. It may be the "responsibility" of the churches to foot the bill for their pastors, but it is also the responsibility of the pastors to speak out when things become outrageous. This is definitely an issue more people need to be acknowledging and working on. Annual Conference SHOULD be affordable for ALL.

Pastor Susan Jennys more than 4 years ago

Annual Conference costs

Our local church pays 100% of the cost of attending. This is the work of the congregation, -- to support those who attend Annual Conference as members on behalf of the local and total church.

Rev. James M. Mmorgan more than 4 years ago

Iowa doesn't cost that much, either.

We don't have a registration fee. Inexpensive housing is available at a nearby college. We're meeting Sat-Mon this year, meaning a lay member only misses one day of work. We don't even publish a journal anymore--it's on the conference website for anyone who needs to see it. The biggest expense is meals, because the outfit that handles concessions at our site is overpriced.

Dale Schoening more than 4 years ago

Thank you for raising this!

This has been my similar experience. While my organization pays for my travel to annual conference, the cost can be prohibitive. Also, the fact that you have to take days off can be a financial burden (for hourly and salaried persons). We need to find a better way to conduct these sessions. Similar concerns have been raised about General Conference (estimated to cost $10.8 million in 2016). We can say we are a church dedicated to ending poverty when restrict or eliminate the ability of those of varying economic status to be present.

The question is: how do you make conferences affordable and accessible?

Michelle W. more than 4 years ago

Registration fee?

Your conference has a registration fee? What is that for? SC Conference does not have one.

Michael Henderson more than 4 years ago

Registration fee?

Michael, Most ACs in the south do not charge registration fees; but it is not free. Tennessee spends about $150,000 on the three day show, funded through apportionments. That works out to less than $200/member who actually attends. We spend a lot more on Wesley Foundations per student, but I pray those are dollars well spent.

And then there is the Fair Trade coffee - it is the only kind we serve. :)

Jim Allen more than 4 years ago

Annual Conference Isn't for the poor

As a clergyperson who works for a non-church related organization (hospice), I am required to foot the bill. I live outside the bounds of the annual conference so hotel, rental car, flight and meals adds up to over $1000. I am unable to attend more than every other year due to costs.

Melissa Booth more than 4 years ago

Notable Quotes


Bishop Laurie Haller delivers the Episcopal Address at the 2017 session of the Iowa Annual Conference.“Are you modeling the love of Christ to everyone who walks through the doors of your churches? What are you doing outside your buildings for the people most in need in your communities, the state of Iowa, and this world? Are all of your many activities making a difference? Where’s your runway?”

– Bishop Laurie Haller in her first episcopal address to the Iowa Annual Conference.

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