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B-CU Welcomes Florida United Methodist Conference to Campus


June 2, 2009

B-CU Welcomes Florida United Methodist Conference to Campus
University to Host Denomination for Annual Conference Event

From June 10-13, Bethune-Cookman University will host the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC) for its annual conference event.  More than 2,000 attendees, including clergy, lay leaders and congregants of United Methodist churches, are expected to participate in the gathering.
According to the Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, the estimated economic impact of the event is approximately $1.8 million.

 “We are delighted to welcome The Florida Conference to our campus,” commented B-CU President Trudie Kibbe Reed. “Bethune-Cookman has an 85-year history with The United Methodist Church  – a relationship that informs our values as an institution.”  Dr. Reed is a former high-ranking administrator with the church and currently serves on the church’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

“The members of the Florida Conference are looking forward to visiting Bethune-Cookman University for our Annual Conference event,” said Bishop Tim Whitaker of the Florida Conference.  “Education is one of the core values of The United Methodist Church.  Spending time at our church-related colleges and universities helps reminds us of the important connections between faith, education and the church. ”

The Florida Conference is one of 63 regional bodies of The United Methodist Church in the United States.  It stretches more than 700 miles, from just west of Tallahassee to the Florida Keys, and includes 740 churches with more than 310,000 members.

The annual conference event brings together clergy and lay members from United Methodist churches for worship, fellowship, and to conduct the business of the conference.   Typically, during these sessions, members of the conference hear reports of past and ongoing work, adopt future goals, programs and budgets, and ordain clergy members as deacons and elders. 

This year, clergy members and lay members elected from conference congregations will vote on amendments to the denomination’s constitution, which must be approved by two-thirds of all the regional conferences to be adopted.  A memorial service Thursday morning, June 11 at 11 a.m., will honor clergy of the conference who have died in the previous year. In addition, there will be evening worship services and a number of bible study sessions.  Ordination, licensing and commissioning of United Methodist clergy are also on the agenda. 

Approximately 69 vendors will set up as the annual conference event’s EXPO, including the Cokesbury Bookstore – a leading nationwide retailer of Christian resources. 

All plenary sessions, worship services, and the EXPO are open to the general public.

In keeping with the event’s theme – Cherishing the Creation – an environmental film festival will be held on Wednesday, June 10, from 2:30 to 10 p.m., at the B-CU School of Nursing.  The festival will feature a series of short films on the environment and the responsibility of the church including the topics of energy use, how food systems impact the environment, waste disposal, what local congregations can do and eco-justice.  A panel discussion will follow each film.  The film festival is open to the public.  

Bethune-Cookman University and The United Methodist Church

Bethune-Cookman University is one of two United Methodist-related colleges in the state of Florida and one of eleven United Methodist-related historically black colleges and universities across the country that together make up the Black College Fund. 

The institution’s connection to the UMC dates back to 1872, when the Cookman Institute of Jacksonville, Florida, was established and named for the Reverend Alfred Cookman, a well-known Methodist minister.  Following the merger of the Cookman Institute with Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune’s school in Daytona Beach, the school, which became known as Bethune-Cookman College, affiliated with the UMC in 1924. 

As a United Methodist-related institution, Bethune-Cookman University shares a common set of values and educational principles with the UMC and its other church-related colleges and universities.   Among these are:

•    Emphasis on special quality of care for students, realized through residence-hall life, faculty commitment to students, special programs and performances, counseling services and an active chaplain’s office and religious life council on campus.

•    A commitment to academic excellence, with resources dedicated to support student achievement including learning labs, programs for students with special needs, and faculty devoted to teaching and helping students to learn.

•    A demonstrated relationship with the church, shown through the quality of academic and community life; a sensitivity to the religious life concerns of students; scholarships for United Methodist students; hosting church events on campus; making faculty and staff available to local churches; and, doing community or international service projects.

•    A focus on the University as a community, understanding that this community will produce many of the leaders in our churches, cities, nation, and world.

In addition to sharing the common values and principles of all United Methodist-related institutions, the colleges and universities of UMC, which in Florida includes Florida Southern University in Lakeland, create a supportive environment that recognizes and nurtures the potential of every student, and instill a commitment to service – and an expectation of leadership – in their students.


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About Bethune-Cookman University

Founded in 1904 by Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement. B-CU offers baccalaureate degrees in 37 majors through six academic schools – Arts & Humanities; Business; Education; Nursing; Science, Engineering and Mathematics; and Social Sciences – and maintains intercollegiate athletic programs and instrumental and choral groups that have achieved national recognition. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of more than 3,400.

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