Annual Meeting


We all know we live in an ever-changing world. Between the uncertainties in The United Methodist Church regarding human sexuality, our attempts to keep up with technology and continued shifts along the political spectrum, it can be difficult to keep up. UMAC can help.

Join us March 7-9, 2018 at the Westin Hotel in Philadelphia for an opportunity to discuss and learn from each other how we can “Embrace Change.”


Register Now

Our 2018 United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC) annual meeting will be in Philadelphia, where a great change in the world was born with the beginnings of the United States of America. The March 7-9 meeting will take place at The Westin Philadelphia hotel, and conclude with our awards banquet on Friday night.

With this historic city as our backdrop, this year’s UMAC meeting promises to provide stimulating discussion, fun times as we network, a walk through history as we worship and tour landmark churches and, of course, plenty of opportunities to learn information and skills that will help you embrace change and enhance your ministry as a communicator.

You won’t want to miss:

Local Church Communications School

Developed especially for local-church communicators and pastors, this one-day event will expose you to some of the latest technology and practices in the communications industry. Every component of this school, which runs from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (including lunch) Wednesday, March 7, is aimed at helping the local church thrive in its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Topics include conducting a communications audit, latest technologies, marketing and automation, podcasting, Facebook Live and taking your church online.

Communications Skills Breakout Sessions

The afternoon of Thursday, March 8, participants in the UMAC annual meetings will have the opportunity to choose from four workshops of about 45 minutes each that will be filled with useful information and tips to help you in your communications ministry. Presenters include Nate Smith from United Methodist Information Technology Association; Deborah Coble, communications director in the West Virginia Conference, the Rev. Wil Ranney, CEO of church website developer Aboundant; and Len Wilson, who will present a workshop titled “Church Like Pixar.” If you liked our “speed-training” opportunities from the past year, you’ll enjoy this concept, which features more depth to the topics open for discussion and learning.

Advocacy Communications Panel

Need some help in communicating advocacy on a subject? This panel may be just the inspiration you’ll need. UMAC is honored to welcome our panel of experienced advocates to provide tips and some of their stories. Our panel consists of the Rev. David Brown, a United Methodist pastor, professor at Temple University and public relations expert; Rev. Robin Hynicka, pastor of Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, which is well known for its efforts to advocate for the least, the last and the lost; Bishop Peggy Johnson, episcopal leader of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference who has a passion for people with disabilities; Susan Greer Burton, director of women and children’s advocacy for the General Board of Church and Society; and Rev. Hector Burgos, director of connectional ministries in the Greater New Jersey Conference with experience advocating for Latinos.

This Year’s
Keynote Speakers

This year’s speakers feature helping you harness creativity in your communications and gain a better understanding of the Bishops’ Commission on a Way Forward. Thursday features Len Wilson, an expert in communications and creativity in church life. He is known for his pioneering work in visual storytelling, and has taught and consulted with organizations and ministries across the country. He will talk about creating messages that stick in a culture. Friday, the Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai, chief connectional ministries officer for the Connectional Table, and the Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga, communications director for the Council of Bishops, will talk about the Commission on a Way Forward and its continuing process.

Step Into Philadelphia’s Rich History

United Methodist churches have played a key role in the Philadelphia community. And you’ll have the opportunity to visit three of them during this year’s UMAC meetings. First, attendees of the local-church communications school will have the opportunity to tour St. George’s Church, which hosts a museum that promises to transport you back to the origins of our denomination. Our opening worship on March 8 will be in historic Arch Street United Methodist Church, known for its vibrant ministry to the poor and for the way it embraces diversity. Our closing worship will be at Tindley Temple United Methodist Church, a church whose history is woven into American history, perhaps most famously for singing “We Shall Overcome.”

Our Schedule

Wednesday, March 7

  • 11 a.m. – Registration opens
  • 11:30 a.m. – Local-church communicator and pastors school (includes lunch)
  • 3 p.m. – Optional tour of St. George’s Church
  • 5 p.m. – Members meeting
  • 6 p.m. – Opening reception

Thursday, March 8

  • 7 a.m. – Breakfast
  • 8:30 a.m. – Opening worship at Arch Street United Methodist Church
  • 9:45 a.m. – Opening plenary with Dan Krause, general secretary of United Methodist Communications
  • 10:30 a.m. – Panel discussion on advocacy communication
  • 12:30 p.m. – Lunch
  • 1:15 p.m. – Keynote address from Len Wilson with Shareability
  • 2:30 p.m. – Four breakout sessions (45 minutes each)
  • 4:15 p.m. – UMCOM Shop Talk
  • 6 p.m. – Break for the evening
  • 7:30 p.m. – Jazz and tacos optional gathering

Friday, March 9

  • 7 a.m. – Breakfast with information from general boards and agencies
  • 8 a.m. – Business meeting
  • 9:30 a.m. – Innovation Talks
  • 11 a.m. – Keynote address with the Revs. Kennetha Bigham Tsai and Maidstone Mulenga regarding the Bishops’ Commission on a Way Forward
  • Noon – Lunch
  • 2 p.m. – History of Tindley Temple United Methodist Church (at the church site)
  • 2:30 p.m. – Panel discussion on honoring our history while leading through change
  • 3:30 p.m. – Closing worship at Tindley Temple UMC
  • 6 p.m. – Reception
  • 6:30 p.m. – Awards banquet

Previous Annual UMAC Meetings