When the Arkansas Annual Conference gathers, it is a family reunion. We missed our time together last year when we were required to conduct the 2020 Annual Conference using an online format.
The 2021 Arkansas Annual Conference will be held June 2-5, 2021, utilizing a hybrid format that will allow participants to gather either in-person in the Hot Springs Convention Center or online via Zoom. Both those who attend in-person and by Zoom will have the ability to fully participate in every aspect of the Conference, including voting and speaking to the entire Annual Conference.
Of course, the Bishop and Annual Conference Planning Committee will continue to monitor appropriate COVID-19 trends and vaccine distribution data and make decisions about adopting a different format should conditions warrant. As we draw closer to June 2, updates will be issued via email and on the Annual Conference 2021 webpage. Information regarding lodging, petitions, and resolutions (due March 15) is already available, and full registration will be open in early April.
The 2021 Annual Conference is being planned carefully to be a safe gathering. This will include adhering to the current real-time COVID-19 guidelines recommended by the Center for Disease Control, the Arkansas Department of Health, and the Arkansas Annual Conference. It also means many of the usual meals, displays, and gatherings will not be held.
As Arkansas United Methodists, we have been at our best as we have lived our ministry and our connectional life together in extraordinary times. This has required responding and adapting to quickly changing circumstances involving the pandemic. At this point, the uncertainties that exist as we prepare for this year’s Annual Conference can be frustrating for everyone. Please be patient, continue to extend grace to each other and #LiveWithLight as we look forward to this year’s Arkansas Annual Conference.