New business manager for General Conference

A new business manager will play a lead role planning the next General Conference, The United Methodist Church's top lawmaking assembly.

The Rev. Alan J. Morrison, who for seven years has served the denomination's finance agency as travel and meeting planning manager/General Conference business manager, is taking on expanded responsibilities.

His new duties as the director of support services (meeting planning, facilities and procurement) will reflect an increased emphasis on helping general agencies that receive general church funds to be better stewards. In consultation with others, Morrison will work to identify and implement best practices to make agency meetings, facility operations and procurement more cost-effective and efficient.

Sara Hotchkiss, who has been assistant business manager to Morrison for seven years, was promoted to travel and meeting planning manager/General Conference business manager. She is a corporate travel expert and certified meeting professional.

These personnel changes at the General Council on Finance and Administration will take effect Sept. 1.

The travel and meeting planning manager/General Conference business manager is among the most public positions at the General Council on Finance and Administration, especially during the legislative meeting.

General Conference, which convenes once every four years, last met April 24-May 4, 2012, in Tampa, Fla., and will next meet in 2016 in Portland, Ore.

Sara Hotchkiss A web-only photo courtesy of The General Council on Finance and Administration.
Sara Hotchkiss
A web-only photo courtesy of The General Council on Finance and Administration.

As business manager, Hotchkiss will work directly with the Commission on General Conference on matters related to facilities, operations, infrastructure and execution of the quadrennial event.

In addition, the business manager helps facilitate the twice-annual meetings of the Council of Bishops and other major gatherings of church leaders. Hotchkiss also will continue in her responsibilities of providing coordination of meeting planning and travel for the General Council on Finance and Administration.

Morrison managed the 2008 General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas, as well as this year's gathering. Before joining the General Council on Finance and Administration, Morrison served for 15 years as pastor in small-membership congregations in the Western Pennsylvania Annual (regional) Conference. For six years, he was the conference chair of the Council on Finance and Administration.

"Alan Morrison has done an extraordinary job as business manager of the General Conference," the Rev. L. Fitzgerald "Gere" Reist II, secretary of the General Conference, said in a statement. "His experiences have more than prepared him for the work he has undertaken. His wisdom in preparing others to take over the work has borne fruit as Sara Hotchkiss assumes the responsibilities that Alan is setting aside. The church has been and will continue to be well served by both of them."

The General Council on Finance and Administration announced two other personnel changes on Aug. 27.

  • Brent Smith, who has worked with GCFA for 26 years, is the finance agency's new chief financial officer. He will oversee management of the agency's financial administration, including administration of denominational funds.
  • The Rev. Matt Conover, an ordained elder in the Iowa Annual Conference, is the new director of financial services. He previously served in management at John Deere.

Both men began their new positions on Aug. 1.

*Hahn is a multimedia news reporter for United Methodist News Service.

News media contact: Heather Hahn, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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