|2008 General Conference to welcome online visitors|
United Methodist Bishop Joel N. Martinez presides over a
session of the denomination's 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh.
Live video and audio streaming of the 2008 assembly will be accessible
A UMNS file photo by John Goodwin.
By United Methodist News Service*
Feb. 4, 2008 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)
General Conference proceedings will be accessible at GC2008.umc.org.
People unable to attend the 2008 United Methodist General Conference
in Fort Worth, Texas, still can watch the proceedings and gather related
information online with Internet access.
Since the 2004 assembly in Pittsburgh, United Methodist
Communications has expanded and upgraded its Internet capability to meet
users’ needs and expectations, said the Rev. Larry Hollon, the agency's
"The Internet is the window into the General Conference for people
around the world," said Hollon. "Live video and audio streaming offer an
opportunity to view and listen to many of the proceedings of the
About 1,000 delegates from around the world will gather April 23-May 2
to determine priorities and set direction for the 11.5 million-member
denomination. The proceedings will be available through GC2008.umc.org
and also through the church's Web site at umc.org. Worship, special
addresses, celebrations and other selected sessions will be available
on live video streaming.
"We are confident we will not have the issues that affected many
persons who followed the work of the General Conference on the Internet
four years ago," said Hollon.
The denomination's Web sites often were overloaded during the 2004
meeting, resulting in shutdowns and lengthy delays in accessing
After 2004's General Conference, United Methodist Communications
selected Kintera Inc., a San Diego-based software service provider, to
host the church's Web site. Through Kintera, Hollon said, the church's
communications agency can handle high volumes of Web traffic and meet
the demands of a growing Web audience.
"Kintera is focused on continually providing our clients with the
software they need to meet their mission," said Scott Crowder, chief
technology officer for Kintera. "Kintera's fault-tolerant and redundant
data centers help to ensure that clients like United Methodist
Communications can safely increase Web traffic without sacrificing
Significant multimedia resources related to the 2008 General
Conference already are available online at GC2008.umc.org. Among them
are video and audio recordings of panel discussions from the Pre-General Conference News Briefing,
held in January in Fort Worth and sponsored by United Methodist
Communications to provide information to delegates and journalists about
significant issues facing General Conference.
Additional informational videos are available about General
Conference, and related news stories also are posted at the General
Conference Web site, as well as through United Methodist News Service
(umns.umc.org). The January-February issue of Interpreter Magazine,
the denomination’s official ministry magazine, focused on the 2008
meeting and featured stories on how previous General Conference sessions
have shaped The United Methodist Church. The articles are available at www.interpretermagazine.org.
Anyone wanting to learn more about General Conference and how it works
can take a free five-session online course called "Exploring General
Conference" through United Methodist Communications. To register, visit http://training.umcom.org.
The Rev. Larry Hollon
During General Conference, United Methodist Communications will send a
daily e-mail digest of UMNS assembly coverage to anyone who subscribes
to the free service. The agency also will provide an RSS feed allowing
church and annual conference Web sites to list General Conference
headlines as UMNS stories are posted. Coverage will include print
stories in English, Spanish and Korean; video stories; audio newscasts;
and a General Conference photo gallery.
InfoServ, the church's free information service, will staff the meeting and respond to questions by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as by phone.
Hollon said the goal of United Methodist Communications is to be the online leader among major denominational organizations.
"We live in a different Web world in 2008. We learned from 2004, and
we are benefiting from expanding technology," he said. "We are better
prepared. We have the right systems in place, and we have the right
people positioned to deal with any issues."
News media contact: Marta Aldrich, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
UMC.org Site Introduction
General Conference basics explored in online course
Agency helps church connect digitally worldwide
Church's new Web site fosters online community
The United Methodist Church
General Conference 2008
United Methodist Communications
Pre-General Conference News Briefing
United Methodist News Service
Exploring General Conference