2014 Convocation on the Rural Church

Sabbath Living

Myrtle Beach, SC

August 11, 2014 to August 13, 2014

Overview

The Convocation on the Rural Church is an annual opportunity for pastors from the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences of the United Methodist Church to join with Duke Divinity School and The Duke Endowment to discuss issues that are important in transforming rural churches and communities and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Participants will join in worship, plenary sessions, conversation and Sabbath. The theme of this year’s event is “Sabbath Living,” and our facilitators are Matthew Sleeth, author of 24/6: Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life; and Nancy Sleeth, author of Almost Amish

Eligibility Criteria

This family-friendly event is funded by The Duke Endowment; to attend, you must serve a church that is eligible to receive Duke Endowment grants. The list of eligible churches has shifted significantly in recent months because The Duke Endowment has expanded its criteria.

Check your eligibility (pdf).

In response to growing demand for this event and in an effort to include participants with a diverse array of experiences, we have implemented a new application process that includes answering a few brief essay questions. We are no longer accepting applications.  Those selected to attend will receive notification and be invited to register beginning in mid-May; all others will be added to a waiting list.

Please contact us with any questions.

Agenda

Over the course of the three-day convocation, participants will have the opportunity to attend plenary sessions, share in worship and meals, and enjoy free time. The conference will take place at the Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort and Conference Center.

 

Monday, August 11

1:00 p.m.

Registration

Palisades Ballroom

3:00 p.m.

Welcome and Introductions
Rev. Brad Thie, TRC Director, Duke Divinity School
Plenary: "The Ministry of The Duke Endowment"
Rev. Robb Webb, Director, Rural Church Program Area
Rev. Kristen Richardson-Frick, Program Officer, Rural Church Program Area

Palisades Ballroom

4:00 p.m.

Opening Worship
Spouses and guests welcome
Preacher: Matthew Sleeth
Presiding:  Rev. Brad Thie

Palisades Ballroom

5:00 – 5:45 p.m.

Break/Meet & Greet with Matthew and Nancy Sleeth

 

6:00 p.m.

Opening Banquet
Pre-registered spouses and guests welcome

Hilton Ballroom

 

Optional Holy Communion on the Beach:
Meet at 8:45 p.m. in lobby

Tuesday, August 12

7:00 - 8:30 a.m.

Breakfast

Hilton Ballroom

8:15 a.m.

Morning Prayer

Palisades Ballroom

8:45 a.m.

Plenary: Matthew and Nancy Sleeth
To be followed by brief discussion groups 

Palisades Ballroom

9:45 a.m.

Refreshment Break

10:15 a.m.

Plenary

Palisades Ballroom

11:15 a.m.

Small Groups

Breakout Rooms

12:00 p.m.

Lunch

Hilton Ballroom

3:00 p.m.

Sabbath and Free Evening

Optional Holy Communion on the Beach:
Meet at 8:45 p.m. in lobby

 

Wednesday, August 13

7:00 – 9:00 a.m.

Breakfast

Hilton Ballroom

9:10 a.m.

Morning Prayer

Palisades Ballroom

9:30 a.m.

Plenary: Matthew and Nancy Sleeth

Palisades Ballroom

10:45 a.m.

Refreshment Break and Check-out

11:10 a.m.

Sending Worship
Preacher: Rev. Susan Pendleton Jones

Palisades Ballroom

12:15 p.m.

Depart
Boxed lunches available for participants

 

The following additional activities on Wednesday afternoon are for current pastors and fellows of the Thriving Rural Communities Initiative.

12:30 p.m.

Thriving Rural Communities Lunch

1:30 - 4:00 p.m.

Gathering of the Thriving Rural Communities Pastors and Rural Ministry Fellows

Speakers

Matthew and Nancy Sleeth

Matthew Sleeth, M.D., and Nancy Sleeth are founders of Blessed Earth, a Christian ministry that helps people lead more sustainable lives. Dr. Sleeth has spoken at more than 1,000 churches, seminaries, and colleges, including serving last year as the monthly guest preacher at the Washington National Cathedral. His newest book is 24/6: Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life. Nancy, a former educator at Asbury University, is the author of Almost Amish: One Woman’s Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life. Recognized by Newsweek and Christianity Today as top Christian leaders to watch, the Sleeths have been married for 32 years and live in Lexington, Ky., near their grown children, Clark and Emma.

Rev. Susan Pendleton Jones

The Reverend Susan Pendleton Jones is the associate dean of United Methodist initiatives and Ministerial formation at Duke Divinity School. Prior to her current position, she served as the director of field education at Duke Divinity. Her teaching responsibilities at Duke have included courses on Methodism, leadership, forgiveness and reconciliation, and the pastor's vocation, team-taught with her husband, L. Gregory Jones, professor of theology and senior strategist for leadership education at Duke Divinity. Additionally, she was the project coordinator for the Divinity School’s 2005 building addition, which includes Goodson Chapel and the Westbrook Building.

An ordained elder in the Western North Carolina (WNC) Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Susan has served pastorates in North Carolina and Maryland and as former United Methodist Campus Minister at Duke. Susan and Greg are the parents of Nathan, Benjamin, and Sarah.

Rev. Robert R. Webb III  

Reverend Robb Webb has served as director of The Duke Endowment’s Rural Church program area since 2010, having joined the endowment as a program officer in 2006. A graduate of Duke Divinity School, Rev. Webb is an ordained deacon in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. Prior to this, he served as a management consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers and Healthcare Resource Associates. Rev. Webb chairs the Rural Life Committee of the North Carolina Council of Churches and serves as chair of the Ministerial Education Fund of the Western North Carolina Conference and is immediate past chair of the Council on Campus Ministry. He also is a board member of Faith and Form magazine, the Board of Visitors for Duke Divinity School, and a member of the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers Education Steering Committee.  He has been a guest lecturer for the Philanthropy for the Sake of the Church and Small Membership Church courses at Duke Divinity.

Rev. Kristen Richardson-Frick

Reverend Kristen Richardson-Frick joined The Duke Endowment in 2012 as a program officer in the Rural Church program area. She is a graduate of Duke Divinity School and an ordained elder in the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. Rev. Richardson-Frick served for 11 years as a pastor at several United Methodist churches in South Carolina, including a rural two-point charge for which she was the first female pastor. Her involvement with the South Carolina Conference has included certified ministry coach, chair of the committee on episcopacy and chair of the Orangeburg District committee on congregational development.

Location

Program sessions and accommodations for the Convocation on the Rural Church will be provided at the oceanfront Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort and Conference Center, a full service hotel and conference center located in Myrtle Beach, S.C. 

Participants who plan to bring their families should note that rooms at the Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort do not include a multi-room suite arrangement.

On-site accommodations are required to attend this event, and reservations must be made through the Divinity School while registering for the event. Parking is available onsite.

Driving Directions (pdf)

The Hilton is an ocean-front property on Myrtle Beach’s coastline within driving distance of ample shopping, dining, and attractions. Broadway at the Beach, located nearby, includes 300 acres of shopping, dining, nightlife, and attractions. Entertainment and dining options include Hard Rock Café, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Señor Frog’s, Ripley’s Aquarium, IMAX Theatre, the Palace Theatre, NASCAR SpeedPark & Café, Children’s Museum of South Carolina, and Crocodile Rock’s Dueling Piano Bar. Shopping also abounds just 10 minutes away at Coastal Grande Mall, one of South Carolina’s largest and newest shopping malls, or you can shop for bargains at Tanger Outlet Mall, located on Highway 501, just 15 minutes away.

On-site accommodations are required to attend this event.

Private room ($130):  All private rooms are standard-sized hotel rooms, not suites.  They can comfortably accommodate up to four individuals, should your (non-clergy) spouse or family members be staying with you during the event.  Note that if you will be sharing your room with more than one other adult guest (anyone 18 years or older), the hotel may place on your bill a surcharge of $10 per additional adult per day. These charges will be applied to your personal credit card by the hotel; they are not included in your registration fee.

Clergy Couples

If you are part of a clergy couple and you both wish to attend the event, you each must apply separately. The cost of your shared private hotel room will be split during registration.

Extended Stay

We invite you to consider giving yourself the gift of Sabbath by coming a day early (Sunday arrival) or staying an extra night (Thursday departure). You may choose one of the two extended stay private room options for the increased total price of $205.

Meals

Guests of participants (spouses and/or family members) are invited to attend a complimentary opening dinner on the evening of Monday, August 11. 

Guests of participants may also eat breakfast and lunch with participants on Tuesday and Wednesday if you purchase them a meal ticket ($50) through the online registration process. One meal ticket is required per guest. Guests who do not purchase meal tickets have the alternate option of paying for and eating breakfast or lunch elsewhere on their own. The cost of meal tickets is kept to a minimum through funding by The Duke Endowment.

Apply

In response to growing demand for this event and in an effort to include participants with a diverse array of experiences, we have implemented a new application process which includes answering a few brief essay questions.

We are no longer accepting applications. Those selected to attend will receive notification and be invited to register beginning in mid-May; all others will be added to a waiting list.

Questions

Please contact Duke Divinity School at events@div.duke.edu or (919) 613-5323.