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Each of the four plenaries will concentrate on one of the areas of focus: Leadership Development, Congregational Development, Elimination of Poverty and Global Health. Each plenary includes worship time, Bible study related to the topic as well as the presentation of material.






Plenary I: Developing Principled Christian Leaders for the Church and the World

The United Methodist Church yearns for true leadership. It is essential at all levels of the church today. Presentations by Bishop Huie, Bishop Whitaker and Mr. Jay Williams set the context for all that follows by suggesting ways that leadership we need today has traditionally been practiced in the Wesleyan tradition. This leadership is grounded in the community, serves the community, and is sensitive to the cultural and contextual realities. This opening plenary introduces the four foci - explaining their origin and relationship to each other and to the work of the church.


Bishop Janice Riggle Huie Bishop Janice Riggle Huie serves as Bishop of the Texas Annual Conference of the UMC. The Texas Annual Conference is composed of over 700 congregations and 290,855 members, spread throughout east Texas. Since Bishop Huie's assignment there, the Texas Annual Conference has adopted a bold new missional strategy aimed at making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. During her term as President of the Council of Bishops, the Council adopted the "Vision Pathways" and "Call to Action" which along with the work of the Connectional Table have developed into the four foci.
Bishop Timothy Whitaker Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker serves as Bishop of the Florida Annual Conference. A student of patristics and history of the early church, Bishop Whitaker is interested in recovering the living tradition of the Christian church for equipping the contemporary church to fulfill its mission in a pluralistic and secularized society.
Jay Williams Jay Williams is a Mastor of Divinity student at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Prior to becoming a student at Union, Jay was an assistant vice president at Merrill Lynch in private banking. While pursuing ordination as an elder, he presently serves as the assistant pastor of Metropolitan Community UMC in East Harlem, New York. He is also the director of the church's start-up community development corporation; he led his delegation to the 2000 and 2004 General Conferences.


Plenary II: New Places for New People and Renewing Existing Congregations

This foci concentrates on starting new churches and transforming existing ones. A panel of four clergy leaders share their diverse experiences in starting new churches in the US and Philippines. In addition, we'll hear of the transformation a dying urban church into a vibrant Spanish-speaking congregation through a creative transitional leadership plan. Tom Butcher, Executive Director of Path1, serves as moderator.


Rev. Candace M. Lewis Rev. Candace M. Lewis is an Elder in the Florida Annual Conference and is the founding Pastor of the New Life Community UMC, which is a Bible teaching, Holy Spirit filled United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. New Life was started in June 1997 with seven persons, and in 10 years the congregation has grown to over 250 members. It is still growing.
The Rev. Dr. Bener Agtarap The Rev. Dr. Bener Agtarap, an Elder in the Wisconsin Annual Conference, is currently the New Church System Strategist of The General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church and Path 1 Team. Immediately prior to his appointment to GBOD, he served churches in the Wisconsin Annual Conference. Originally from the Philippines, he previously served as a new church developer, local pastor, and district superintendent in Manila, Philippines.
Rev. Diana Presley Rev. Diana Presley is Pastor of Oak Cliff United Methodist Church and Coordinator of Amigos Days, a hands-on ministry of 40 churches in partnership with People Helping People (City of Dallas) that repairs homes in Dallas and renovates urban churches.
Rev. Edgar Bazan Rev. Edgar Bazan is a Local Pastor in the North Texas Conference currently serving at Oak Cliff UMC. At the present time, he is helping start a second Hispanic ministry and leading the Hispanic Task Force of the North Texas Conference.
Rev. Tom Butcher Rev. Thomas G. Butcher is the Executive Officer for New Church Starts in the U.S. and Leader of the Path 1 Team which leads the denomination's effort to make new disciples of Jesus Christ by planting new churches. During his tenure in Congregational Development in the Desert Southwest Conference, he facilitated the start-up of 24 new churches and the revitalization of over 40 others.


Plenary III: Engaging in Ministry with the Poor

As a church, we are committed to work for the elimination of poverty and to do that work in community with the poor. Our task is to join together with those most in need to eliminate both the harsh effects and the root causes of poverty in our communities, our nations and world. In this session Bishop Ed Paup challenges United Methodist leaders to rediscover our biblical call to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of a broken world.


Bishop Ed Paup Rev. Ed Paup is the Bishop of the Seattle Area until September 1, 2008 when he will become the General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries. Most of his active ministry before his election to the episcopacy was in the Rocky Mountain Conference.


Plenary IV: Stamping Out Killer Diseases of Poverty by Improving Health Globally

The United Methodist Church understands global health as seeking a dynamic state of well-being of the individual and of society. This holistic wellness is physical, mental, spiritual, economic, political, and social health in harmony with each other, with the natural environment, and with God. John Wesley, in his book Primitive Physick and in his sermons, pointed out the interconnectedness among spiritual, mental, and physical well-being. We continue to claim and build on that understanding. Our global health focus facilitates the prevention, treatment, and advocacy of health issues worldwide including the major threats to global health — HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.


The Rev. Dr. Gary Gunderson The Rev. Dr. Gary Gunderson, a Deacon in the United Methodist Church, is senior vice president for Health and Welfare Ministries for Methodist Healthcare, Memphis, TN and Director for the Interfaith Health Program at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Gunderson's two leadership roles focus on building the capacity of religious institutions to advance health and wholeness. He also serves as faculty for the Department of Global Health of the Rollins School of Public Health and for the Candler School of Theology of Emory University.
Dr. Cherian Thomas Dr. Cherian Thomas, M.D. is Executive Secretary for the Hospital Revitalization Program of the General Board of Global Ministries. His work includes strengthening the outreach of United Methodist Hospitals in Africa and Asia; HIV/AIDS ministries in the US and abroad; congregational health ministries; and community-based primary health care programs, among others.
Rev. Gary Henderson Rev. Gary Henderson, an Elder in the East Ohio Conference, is Executive Director of the Global Health Initiative of The United Methodist Church. The initiative's goal is to mobilize the full resources of The United Methodist Church to effect health care changes on a global scale. Denominational partners in the effort are the church's Commission on Communication and the Boards of Global Ministries, Church and Society and Higher Education and Ministry, among others.
Melba Whitaker Mrs. Melba Whitaker is a retired special education teacher with degrees in special education and anthropology. Her interest in mission and health care grew out of her travel to many Central and South American countries and a friendship with Dr. Laurinda Quipungo, a pediatrician in Angola. She has led overseas educational trips to help participants learn about Community Based Health Care and witnessed the UMC in ministry with the poor and sick in many countries


Bishop Minerva Carcano Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño serves as Bishop of the Desert Southwest Annual Conference. She has always had a heart for and been in ministry with the poor, farm workers, immigrants, and refugees even as she encourages congregations to work ecumenically and to be active in community organizing.
Worship and Music Leaders
Marcia McFee Marcia McFee is a life-long United Methodist and well-known professor and consultant on worship design, leadership and the arts. She has designed and led worship for countless annual and jurisdictional conferences, agency meetings and gatherings, including the 2008 General Conference, over the last 18 years. She is the author of The Worship Workshop: Creative Ways to Design Worship Together from Abingdon Press.
Mark Miller Mark Miller is well known throughout the United Methodist Church as a worship leader, teacher and composer of sacred music. He is the Director of Music at the Drew Theological School in Madison, New Jersey and Lecturer in the Practice of Sacred Music at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. He is also the Minister of Music at Covenant United Methodist Church in Plainfield, New Jersey. Mark has given concerts and led conferences in every jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church and the 2008 General Conference and has toured internationally in South Africa and Europe.