The Polity, Benefits, and Mission Conference (formerly the Mid Council Leaders Gathering) is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 14 and Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. As with last year’s event, the 2021 conference will be virtual, with attendees joining via Zoom.
Both conference days will begin at 11 a.m. Eastern Time and last until 4:15 p.m., with a scheduled break. Registration opens Wednesday, Sept. 8 and will remain open until at least Friday, Oct. 1. Attendance is free.
This year’s national church sponsors include the Board of Pensions (BOP), Office of the General Assembly (OGA), and, for the second year in a row, Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA).
Tricia Dykers-Koenig, associate director for Mid Council Relations in OGA, explained the name change in a recent Mid Council Relations newsletter:
“With the addition of the PMA as a sponsor last year, plus the online format, plus the in-person gatherings this fall of the Association of Stated Clerks and Association of Mid Council Leaders, the planners … decided that it would be good to change the name.
“To be more clear about the content and purpose, it’s been rebranded ‘Polity, Benefits, and Mission Conference.’”
The Rev. Edward J. Thompson, senior church consultant and director of Inter-Agency Relations at BOP, described the upcoming meeting as “an evolution from what used to be OGA’s Polity Conference and Board of Pensions Benefit Gatherings.
“This is primarily a mid council event, although with it happening virtually, we can extend invitations beyond the mid council leaders.”
Thompson added, “This is very much an opportunity to share what the mid councils and agencies are doing while providing an important opportunity for conversation, learning and engagement. Above all, it is our goal to support and develop the ministry of the church.”
The Rev. Rosemary Mitchell, senior director of Mission Engagement and Support at PMA, said the conference is “an important opportunity for PMA staff to engage with mid council leaders about mission.
“This year we want to hear how ministry through the lens of Matthew 25 may be bringing up different questions. We want to hear what mid councils are doing as well as how PMA staff can be helpful.”
According to the Polity, Benefits, and Mission Conference webpage, the two-day meeting has been designed “specifically for administrative, ecclesiastical and programmatic leaders of mid councils.” The online format allows for up to 1,000 attendees.
Planned program highlights include:
- An informational session on the 225th General Assembly (2022)
- An update on the Matthew 25 invitation
- An overview of benefits and programs offered through the Board of Pensions
- Daily Bible study and reflection.
Questions about conference registration may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.