Monday, August 10, 2020 (All day) to Wednesday, August 12, 2020 (All day)
Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes, Myrtle Beach, SC (Map)
Duke Divinity School
(919) 613-5323

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.

Event Details

Participants will join in worship, plenary sessions, workshops, fellowship, and Sabbath. Preachers, plenary speakers, and workshop leaders will offer models and resources for cultivating diverse communities within a rural church setting.

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 Duke Endowment eligible churches was expanded in 2014, which has allowed additional pastors to participate in this event.

Check your eligibility to attend (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 an application process that includes answering a few brief essay questions. The application will open in mid-March. Those selected to attend will receive notification and be invited to register; all others will be notified that they have been added to a waiting list. If you are invited to register and fail to do so by the registration deadline, you will forfeit your spot to those on the waitlist.

Participants who attend all sessions of the event will be emailed one continuing education unit at the conclusion of the event.

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 Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Monday, August 10

11:00 a.m. - 2:45 p.m. Event Check-In

3:00 p.m. Welcome & Opening Worship

4:30 p.m. Opening Plenary

5:30 p.m. Break & Hotel Check-In

6:30 p.m. Opening Cookout & Concert

Tuesday, August 11

7:00 a.m. Breakfast

8:15 a.m. Morning Prayer

9:00 a.m. Plenary

10:15 a.m. Break

10:45 a.m. Workshops

12:00 p.m. Lunch

1:15 p.m. Workshops

2:30 p.m. Free Time & Dinner on Your Own

8:00 p.m. Beach Communion Service

Wednesday, August 12

7:00 a.m. Breakfast

8:15 a.m. Morning Prayer

9:00 a.m. Plenary

10:30 a.m. Break & Hotel Check-Out

11:15 a.m. Sending Worship

12:30 p.m. Boxed Lunch & Departure

Accommodations

On-site accommodations are required to attend this event.

Private room ($140): For those arriving on Monday and departing Wednesday, the registration fee is $140. 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 $5 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 and register 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 staying an extra night (Monday arrival, Thursday departure). At the time of application, please indicate whether you prefer a Wednesday departure ($140 registration fee) or an extended, Thursday departure for a total registration fee of $220. Due to funding from The Duke Endowment, the extra night is available to you at a greatly reduced cost. If you are accepted and invited to register, you will be emailed a unique registration link for the departure date that you pre-select. Please note that there is not an option to select your departure date at the time of registration, but only at the time of application.  

Meals

If you are a registered participant, the following meals are included in the cost of your registration fee: Monday dinner; both Tuesday and Wednesday breakfast, refreshments, and lunch. Dinner is on your own Tuesday evening.  

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

Guests of participants may also eat breakfast and lunch with participants on Tuesday and Wednesday if participants purchase a meal ticket ($60 through the online registration process). One meal ticket is required per guest. Due to our contract with the hotel catering, no guest meal tickets may be purchased on the day of the event. Guests who do not purchase meal tickets have the alternate option of paying for and eating breakfast or lunch elsewhere on their own. Thanks to the generosity of The Duke Endowment, meal tickets are available at a greatly reduced cost.

Location

Program sessions and accommodations for the Convocation on the Rural Church will be provided at the oceanfront Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes, 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 hotel do not include a multi-room suite arrangement. Each room holds a maximum of four guests. To oblige by hotel guidelines, please be prepared to pay for an additional room if there is more than four in your party. If you have any questions or concerns about this policy, please email us.

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

Speakers and Staff

Program Staff

Rev. Robert R. Webb III  

The Rev. 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, 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. 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

The Rev. 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. 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.

Rev. Brad Thie

The Rev. Brad Thie is the director of the Thriving Rural Communities initiative at Duke Divinity School. He is a 1998 Duke Divinity graduate and also an ordained elder and a member of the Western North Carolina Annual Conference. He has pastored three rural United Methodist churches in North Carolina. Before joining Thriving Rural Communities as director in 2013, Thie served as pastor for eight years of Friendship UMC in Newton, N.C., a partner church with Thriving Rural Communities. He experienced his calling to pastoral ministry while participating in a Disciple I Bible Study at Mt. Pisgah UMC in Greensboro, N.C. During his service at Mt. Pisgah, he also served as a facilitator of Disciple Bible Study through Disciple Bible Outreach Ministry (DBOM) in two prison facilities. He has served on DBOM’s Executive Council, as a candidacy mentor for numerous ministry candidates, as spiritual director of the Emmanuel Emmaus Community, and currently serves on the Board of United Church Homes and Services. 

 

Plenary Speaker

More information coming soon.

Workshop Leaders

More information coming soon.

Preachers

More information coming soon.

Worship 

More information coming soon.

Workshops

More information coming soon.

Apply

The application for the 2020 Convocation on the Rural Church will be available beginning in mid-March.
In response to growing demand for this event and in an effort to include participants with a diverse array of experiences, we have implemented an application process that includes a few brief essay questions:
  • Why do you wish to take part in the 2020 Convocation on the Rural Church?
  • Compose a brief prayer (a couple of sentences) that would convey your God-given dreams for the church and community you serve.