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April 14, 2020

Dear Lay and Clergy Members of Annual Conference,

Grace, peace, and mercy be yours from God, who is our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. I pray this message finds you and yours in good health during this unique time in history. Last week, Mesa City Council determined that many public facilities would remain closed into the summer; this includes the Mesa Convention Center, our venue for Annual Conference. On Monday, April 13th, we confirmed that the Desert Southwest Conference would not be able to meet there as scheduled in June. Because of this, the manner in which we will conduct the business of Annual Conference must change.

The Sessions Committee met April 14th, and made the following recommendations:

We will hold Friday, June 12th and Saturday, June 13th for clergy session, laity session, and a plenary session through virtual meetings.

Friday, June 12th, 9 a.m. – noon will be the Clergy Session

Friday, June 12th, 1-4 p.m. will be the Laity Session

Saturday, June 13th, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (with a two-hour break for lunch and rest!) will be the Plenary Session

There are many items we consider to be essential and can be addressed through virtual meetings. There are other events we consider essential but believe are best conducted in person. We recognize the anxiety that many of you may be experiencing with all of this change and express our gratitude in your flexibility as we navigate a time such as this.

In order to prepare for the new manner in which we will conduct the business of the Annual Conference for 2020, the deadline for Pre-Conference reports has been extended to May 15, 2020. Laity and clergy will still need to register for Annual Conference; this will enable us to provide you with the materials and links you will need to connect.

It is anticipated that we will be mailing out important conference material you will need to in advance of the June dates, and we will be using different technology for our gathering. In order to cover the cost of these mailings and technology, there is a registration fee of $25 per person.

There will be several opportunities for individuals to test the technology we will employ prior to the June 12-13 dates. In addition to testing times (to be determined), a Pre-Conference Briefing will also take place. Please mark your calendars for May 26, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

We anticipate that you have many questions related to the logistics of this abbreviated version of Annual Conference. We will share everything we know with you, as we know it, at dscumc.org and facebook.com/dscumc. For specific logistic questions please contact Cynthia Satchel at . Thank you again for your flexibility during this ever-changing world!

Peace and Blessings,

Rev. Jen Lambert Conference Secretary

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