Countdown to Conference: Celebrating Bishop Huie and Conference Priorities Past, Present and Future

Date Posted: 3/25/2016

Three prominent keynote speakers, special events and a nationally-known worship leader will inspire delegates and guests attending the Annual Conference in Houston this May. Register soon to safeguard your spot.
This year’s historic annual conference will be a special celebration with longtime Bishop Janice Riggle Huie as attendees and guests focus on successes and goals related to Planting and Harvesting Seeds of Faith. Hear from keynote speakers including:

  • Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey on the topic of Leadership
  • Rev. Ruben Saenz on Vibrant Churches
  • Rev. Tom Berlin on Investing in the Young
Bishop Harvey received a call to ministry while attending Foundry UMC in Houston. With a degree in Journalism from the University of Texas, Cynthia believes her curiosity serves her well as a leader and her creativity spurs a personal commitment to innovate and inspire others to see what is possible. She was ordained Deacon in the Texas Annual Conference in 1999 and ordained as Elder in 2001. She served as Director of Missional Excellence in the TAC 2008 - 2010. She was assigned as Bishop of the Louisiana Conference in September, 2012 where she continues to serve.
Rev. Dr. Ruben Saenz has a Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry degree from SMU Perkins School of Theology and was awarded the Perkins Faculty Award for the student who best exemplified the goals and mission of Perkins. He served at La Trinidad UMC and El Divino Redentor UMC in El Paso where he increased worship attendance by 200 percent over four years. He later pastored El Buen UMC -- known as the largest Hispanic-American United Methodist Church in the country with over 900 members. As Executive Director of the Mission Vitality Center in the Rio Texas Conference, he continues unification work by overseeing the strategic direction and outcome delivery of the conference’s missional objectives.
Rev. Tom Berlin is a graduate of Virginia Tech and the Candler School of Theology.  He has served churches of all sizes and currently serves as the Lead Pastor of Floris United Methodist Church in Virginia, a church committed to reaching out to the local community and the world.  Through international outreach, the church has established the Child Rescue Centre for war-displaced children and Mercy Hospital in partnership with the Sierra Leone Annual Conference. Tom has co-authored three books with Lovett Weems, Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results, Overflow: Increase Worship Attendance and Bear More Fruit, and the soon to be released High Yield: Seven Disciplines of the Fruitful Leader, all published by Abingdon Press. He is also the author of several small group studies: 6 Decisions That Will Change Your Life, 6 Things We Should Know About God, and 6 Ways We Encounter God.
According to Rev. B.T. Williamson, Assistant to the Bishop, nationally known worship designer Marcia McFee will team up with Lindsay Smith (Kingwood UMC) and Michael Vaughn (Wildwood UMC) to facilitate a special worship experience for attendees. Marcia, who followed her call to ministry two decades ago, incorporates her love for God, the arts, dance and meaning by creating unique worship inspirations.
Special Event and 2016 Keepsake
On Monday evening of conference, there will be a dinner honoring Bishop Huie that will include video remembrances from some of her close friends. Also, during this historic conference, delegates will receive a commemorative book outlining the accomplishments of the conference during Bishop Huie’s tenure.
Important Details for Delegates
  • Rooms are going fast. Reserve one at the Hotel Americas Houston, 713-739-8000, $130 per room. 
  • Meal and Meeting lists are available at:
  •  Contact your district office for registration information
Last Year to Print Pre-Conference Journals
Following a stewardship decision by the Core Leadership Team, 2016 will be the last year for pre-conference journals to be printed and mailed. “Future journals will be available digitally, at a savings of $32,000 per year,” notes Rev. B.T. Williamson.
Simultaneous Pre-conference Meetings
This spring, Reverends B.T. Williamson, Gail Ford Smith and Jesse Brannen will be holding a meeting in three districts as follows. See your district website for details on time and place.
Rev. Jesse Brannen:
April 24                NW                                                    
April 25                N
April 26                E
Rev. Gail Ford Smith:
April 24                W
April 25                CN
April 26                SW
Rev. B.T. Williamson:
April 24                SE
April 25                S
April 26                CS