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National UMM to gather in Nashville

Conference UMM president urges S.C. men to attend

By Jessica Connor

NASHVILLE — With an aim to turn themselves “inside out” for God, thousands of men from across the nation will head to Nashville this summer for the 11th national gathering of United Methodist Men.

Set for July 12-14 at Belmont University, the event will feature a host of speakers all reflecting the event s theme of From the Inside Out,  words taken from the song Into the Light  performed by Phil Stacey. Stacey, a finalist on season six of American Idol, will perform in concert the Saturday evening during the event. The song is a prayer for Christ to change us from the inside out.

From the Inside Out  speakers include Don Davis, former member of the New England Patriots, now regional director of the NFL Players Association; Mississippi Area Bishop James Swanson, president of the General Commission on UMM; the Rev. Shane Bishop, pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Fairview Heights, Ill., a church that increased membership from 200 in 2009 to 1,000 in 2012; and David Delk, president of Man in the Mirror Ministries in Orlando, Fla.

S.C. Conference UMM President Herman Lightsey is encouraging men from every UMC in this conference to attend the conference, which he said will be an excellent learning and fellowship experience.

In addition to the speaker lineup, attendees will have the chance to attend two of 17 workshops on topics like Faith Sharing,  What Women Wish Men Knew about Women and Spirituality,  Sexual Sanity and Addictions  and When Twitter Meets Scripture. 

Attendees will also get the chance to put their faith into action through building handcarts for people in Africa who have lost the use of their legs, packing 100,000 food packets for Stop Hunger Now, and sacking 40,000 pounds of produce through the Society of Saint Andrew.

Men can also participate in a three-on-three half-court basketball tournament at Belmont.

Training for men s ministry and scouting ministry will also be offered, and the event will culminate with worship and communion.

I hope all men in South Carolina will consider attending whether they are an official member of United Methodist Men or not,  said Lightsey, who will be at the event and will share his reflections in the Advocate after.

This is the second quadrennial conference to be held in Nashville. Earlier gatherings were held at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. In 2009, the site was shifted to Belmont University, site of the 2008 U.S. presidential debate. While this is the 11th national conference since the conclusion of World War II, earlier meetings of Methodist Men were held in Indianapolis after World War I.

Cost is $199 if registration is received prior to June 1 ($299 after). That amount includes two dinners and a lunch. On campus housing for two nights is available for $100. That price is based on two-person occupancy and includes breakfast. Neighboring hotels are available at prices ranging from $99 to $145 per night.

To register, visit www.ummgathering.org or call 615-340-7145.

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