(June 2, 2011)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

College to host Louisiana United Methodist Annual Conference

SHREVEPORT, La. (Centenary News Service) — More than 1,000 United Methodists will gather June 5-8 in the Gold Dome at Centenary College for the 2011 Louisiana United Methodist Annual Conference. Delegates from local churches throughout the state will meet to ordain clergy, vote on church legislation, and worship together.

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A special report on the efforts of the Louisiana United Methodist Disaster Recovery Ministry, established in 2005, will be highlighted during the conference.

Worship services and testimonials throughout the annual conference are centered on the theme "With the Poor," which goes hand in hand with this year's denominational focus for The United Methodist Church of "ministry with the poor."

The concern for the elimination of worldwide poverty will be woven throughout the conference, particularly as delegates reflect on the May 14th "Day of Caring," when more than 210 United Methodist churches statewide participated in a variety of poverty outreach programs. Out of 64 conferences nationwide, in addition to conferences throughout the world, the Louisiana Conference had the largest number of churches participating during the May 14th day of outreach.

On Tuesday afternoon, annual conference delegates will be electing delegates for both the 2012 General and 2012 Jurisdictional Conferences to represent the Louisiana Conference. General Conference is scheduled for April 24-May 4 in Tampa, Fla., and the South Central Jurisdictional Conference will be held July 18-21 in Oklahoma City.

Special offerings taken at this year's Annual Conference session will be collected with an emphasis on the elimination of poverty at home and abroad. An offering taken during Tuesday night's worship service will be designated for ministry with the poor living in Louisiana.

Delegates will also bring non-perishable food items to the Tuesday night service for distribution through the Foodbank of Northwest Louisiana.

A collection for United Methodist Committee on Relief to be used in response to the tsunami and earthquake in Japan will be taken Sunday night during the Memorial Service held in the Gold Dome.

Special services will be featured each day of the conference. Rev. Bob Burgess, Monroe District Superintendent, will preach the Memorial and Communion service on Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. in the Gold Dome. The Service of Ordination and Commissioning will be held Monday evening at 7:30 p.m. at First UMC in Shreveport with Bishop William W. Hutchinson serving as speaker. Rev. Valerie Robideaux, Director of Centenary's Christian Leadership Center will be ordained during the ceremony.

Bishop William W. Hutchinson will also deliver an Episcopal Address on Monday morning at 11:15 a.m. in the Gold Dome. Tuesday evening's worship, a "Feast of Love," will focus on loving our neighbors and defining "who is our neighbor?"

For more information or interviews, contact Betty Backstrom at 225.346.1646 or 225.572.3347.

SCHEDULE of Events

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 373 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.