4,000 expected at United Methodist Men event

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. –– United Methodist leaders expect 4,000 men to attend the 11thnational gathering of United Methodist Men this summer in Nashville.

Meeting Jan. 7 in Jacksonville, Fla., the 22-member committee approved final plans for the July 12-14 quadrennial meeting at Belmont University.

Speakers for the gathering include:

  • Don Davis, former member of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots now serving as regional director of the NFL Players’ Association
  • Mississippi Area Bishop James Swanson, president of the General Commission on United Methodist Men
  • 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
  • David Delk, president of Man in the Mirror Ministries in Orlando, Fla.

The theme of the event will be “From the Inside Out,” words from a song performed on the CD “Into the Light,” by Phil Stacey, one of the five finalists on the sixth season of the American Idol television show. The song is a prayer for Christ to change us from the inside out. The Nashville public will be invited to his concert on Saturday evening.

Richard Alegria, former president of Rio Grande Conference United Methodist Men, will be the accompanist and his son, Andrew Alegria, will be the choral director.

Workshops, mission projects and basketball

Participants will be invited to attend two of 17 workshops on topics ranging from “Men’s Health;” “Faith Sharing;” “What Women Wish Men Knew about Women and Spirituality;” “Sexual Sanity and Addictions;” “Freed up Financial;” “When Twitter Meets Scripture, and “Conducting Prison Ministry.”

A select crew will film, edit, upload, tweet, blog, interview and produce content to stream the web.

The men will also sack 40,000 pounds of produce provided through the Society of Saint Andrew, package 100,000 Stop Hunger Now dehydrated food packets for emergency situations around the world, and build hand-carts for people in Africa who have lost the use of their legs.

On Friday afternoon, two 3-hour pre-event training experiences will be offered for men interested in men’s ministry or scouting ministry. The first event for everyone will be Friday evening and the weekend will end with worship and communion on Sunday morning.

For the first time, men will be invited to participate in a three-on-three half-court basketball tournament at Belmont. Men from the same church may enter teams in the under-40 and over-40 age competition. Winners of the tournament may claim they are national champions. Rules and brackets will be posted atwww.ummgathering.org.

Great event

“Each year I seek out and attend many men’s conferences and events,” said Mark Lubbock a United Methodist pastor who serves as a part-time deployed staff member of the General Commission on United Methodist Men. “I can say without qualification that the line-up of the 11th National Gathering is absolutely world class. The caliber of the speakers, the quality of the break-out sessions and the music is head and shoulders above what you can find elsewhere!”

Registration and costs

There are three ways to register. Mail a registration to GCUMM, P.O. Box 440515, Nashville, TN 37244-0515 or call 615-340-7145 or register online atwww.ummgathering.org.

Cost of the event is $239 if registration is received before March 15. That amount includes two dinners and a lunch. On-campus housing for two nights is available for $85. That price is based on two-person occupancy and includes breakfast. Neighboring hotels are available at prices ranging from $119 to $145 a night. Payment can be made by check or credit card.


This is the second quadrennial conference in Nashville. Earlier gatherings were 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 end of World War II, Earlier meetings of Methodist Men were in Indianapolis after World War I.

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