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AC2023: Pre-Conference Workshops

Led by staff members of the UMC’s General Agencies, community partner organizations, and subject matter experts, this year’s annual conference will include online workshops to provide an opportunity for our members to learn more about the primary sources of spiritual and physical hunger in the world and about how to find and offer nourishment for those hungers.

June 5-7 PT/HT via Zoom


Jason Moore @ Midnight Oil Productions

View Recording Here

Join us for “Both/And: Maximizing Hybrid Worship Experiences For Online and In-Person Audiences.” This session will delve into strategies for how to create powerful transformative worship where no one feels like they’re an afterthought. It will explore:

  • Re-imagining worship
  • How to create interactive experiences
  • Strategies for adapting practices
  • Avoiding letting your groove becoming a rut
  • and more

Creativity, storytelling and visual communication are evidenced passions of Jason throughout his two+ decades of designing resources, training, coaching, and consulting for churches of all sizes, styles, and means. Jason is a graduate of The Modern College of Design, author of 12 books, and a frequent keynote speaker and trainer.

Rev. Enger Muteteke, Senior Director of Programs and Education @ The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) for The UMC

View Recording Here

The ministry of Christ’s Church calls us to truly see the whole person in all the ways God has made them – race and ethnicity, gender, culture, social location, and ability. Often, we are unaware of the intersecting identities of those we serve. Engage self-reflection of our lived experiences and identities learning how we can love God and our neighbor more justly in our lives and ministries.

Raised in Maryland, Rev. Muteteke is an Elder in the Baltimore Washington Conference of The UMC. She has served in various capacities – in both the local church and nonprofit organizations, with nearly all her ministry in cross racial/cross cultural appointments.

Rev. Dr. Ron Bell Jr., Director of Healing & Resilience for The Upper Room @ The General Board of Discipleship of The UMC

View Recording Here

Your brain processes hunger, tiredness, sadness, and depression the same way. They all present as trauma; without healthy resources and tools for managing those feelings we have the potential of getting stuck in trauma loops. This workshop will focus on giving participants tools for getting unstuck. Participants will learn the value of 1) Decoupling, 2) Body scanning, and 3) narrative graphing.

Ron Bell, an ordained Elder in The UMC and a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., is passionate about emotional formation and the intersection of faith and mental health. He is an author, and regular guest columnist for several publications. Three of his most popular books deal with his work with grief and trauma.


Becky Posey Williams, Senior Director for Sexual Ethics and Advocacy @ The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW) for The UMC

View Recording Here

How does self-awareness contribute to authenticity and establishing good boundaries for a healthy faith community? In ministry, good self-care cannot be achieved without practicing self-awareness each day. Research supports one of the greatest indicators of a person’s ability to set healthy boundaries is through self-care. Consider these individual markers as pointers toward putting oneself in a vulnerable position for unethical behavior:

  • Sense of self-worth tied to work
  • Difficulty living with loneliness…no one to talk to…no confidant
  • Using limelight from congregation to fill void in personal life
  • Bonds with those who offer flattery, don’t criticize you, thinks you are a wonderful listener, etc.

Participants will be encouraged to have dialogue about specific boundary challenges and develop individual plans of self-care.

Becky Posey Williams, MSW, worked for 25 years as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Therapist in private practice. Becky is also a trainer for the development and use of Response Teams for congregational and staff healing following an incident of sexual misconduct in a local ministry setting. 

Rev. Iván González Jr., Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural Leadership and Partnerships Senior Specialist @ The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) for The UMC

View Recording Here

In this 90-minute workshop, we will explore how to nourish our spiritual, emotional, and relational lives during transitional and turbulent seasons of life. We will examine what psychological science, theology, and lived experience can teach us on how to sit with and communicate about grief and displacement, all while finding emotional and spiritual anchoring in the process.

Rev. González is a provisional Deacon in the Florida Conference of The UMC. For over ten years as a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida, Iván has walked alongside individuals and communities as they journeyed through depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges. Specializing in couples therapy and substance use disorders, it was in the therapy room where Iván felt the call to ministry strongest.

Robert Hoo, Lead Organizer and Executive Director @ One LA - Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF)

View Recording Here

Participants will learn how the skills of relational organizing can strengthen their church and deepen relationships between the church and the surrounding community. The session will include examples of how local churches have worked with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) to build broad-based community organizations that connect churches, temples, schools, and nonprofits together in strategies for transforming the world.

Robert Hoo has over fifteen years of organizing experience with the IAF, the oldest and largest community organizing network in the country, in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, where he conducted numerous training sessions for the Desert Southwest Conference of The UMC.


Rev. Jenny Phillips​​​​, Senior Technical Advisor for Environmental Sustainability @ The General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) for The UMC

View Recording Here

Are you hungry for climate justice but overwhelmed by the magnitude of the challenges we face? As United Methodists we can draw on the vast resources of our faith and our denomination to discern how God is calling each of us to action. During this session, we’ll discuss:

  • The power of climate grief
  • Making meaning in times of crisis
  • Finding your entry points to action

Rev. Phillips is an Elder in the Pacific Northwest Conference and a delegate to the Western Jurisdiction Conference of The UMC. She works to integrate sustainability initiatives into disaster response, global health and mission ministries. She is co-convener of the UM Interagency Just and Equitable Net-Zero Coalition

Kristin Johnstad, Senior Consultant @ Johnstad and Associates

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In this session, Kristin begins a conversation about seeing, understanding and influencing change. Through her examples and stories, she’ll share how organizations are working in more collaborative, networked ways. We will learn about the benefits and use simple resources to assess and identify options for taking action.

Kristin devotes her career to developing individuals, networks and systems to be more effective and resilient, with extensive experience in cross-sector collaborations, peer-based learning models, network capacity building, and providing training and technical assistance on successful community and faith-based initiatives. She thrives on working with complex change and frequently assembles inter-disciplinary and inter-generational teams for optimal results. She is lead consultant with Network Weaver Institute and an active associate with Authenticity Consulting.

Rev. Dr. John Fanestil, Executive Director @ Via International

View Recording Here

Migration is a global phenomenon from which the United States is not exempt. Across three decades, Presidential administrations of  both parties have attempted to “deter” unauthorized entry to the U.S. by “hardening” our nation’s southern border. This strategy has produced mixed results. Join us to learn about the ever-changing dynamics on the US/Mexico border.

A native of San Diego, John Fanestil is a Cal-Pac Elder who has spent much of his 30 years in ministry witnessing this transformation and attempting to align himself with the “migrant people of God” on the California/Baja California border region. 

Pre-Conference Workshops 
June 5-7 PT/HT via Zoom