The Ministerial Session meets this morning and afternoon (Thursday) and then there will be a Welcome Tea for all representatives at Enniskillen Castle; the total number of representatives is 250 - 125 Ministers and 125 Laypersons.
The Representative Session will begin with the Service of Installation of the new President, the Rev. Lindsay, in St. Macartin's Cathedral at 7.30pm tonight (Thursday). The President's theme for this year's conference is "Strength through Prayer".
Mr. Lindsay has been stationed in the Ballinamallard and Trillick Circuit for the past six years and it is a particularly special occasion for the people of his congregations and of the Lakelands District to have him installed as President within the District at this Conference. He will succeed the current President, the Rev. Ian D. Henderson.
In 2010, for the first time, a Lay Leader of the Conference was appointed - Ms Gillian M. Kingston. The President and Lay Leader will between them chair the business sessions of the Representative Conference.
Another main service of the Conference - the Ordination Service - will take place at St. Macartin's Cathedral at 7pm on Sunday, June 10, when four ministers will be ordained. They are the Rev. George A. Bowes (from Lisnaskea), the Rev. Mark N.J. Charles (from Ballynahinch), the Rev. Fiona R. McCrea (from Lisburn) and the Rev. David J. Sweeney (Fivemiletown), a son of the manse; his father, the Rev. Brian Sweeney was previously stationed in Fivemiletown where David is now minister. This service will be very special for the Ordinands, their families, friends and congregations.
Other events taking place during Conference include the Mission Meeting in Darling Street tomorrow Friday, starting at 8pm. There will be a focus on the Methodist Anglican Covenant which is now marking its 10th anniversary. One of the items to be featured will be the joint youth ministry in the Ballinamallard churches. Also of interest will be a joint commissioning by the Methodist President and a Church of Ireland Bishop of the Rev. Arlene Moore who is going to be the sole minister of a United Methodist Anglican Church, the Church of the Good Shepherd in Monkstown, Newtownabbey.
The Conference also includes a Youth Night in Fivemiletown Hall on Saturday at 7.30pm; the Conference Service in Darling Street on Sunday at 11am; the Headway (Ireland) Rally will follow a 7.45am breakfast in the Cathedral Hall on Saturday; and the Ministers' spouses' lunch will take place in the Salvation Army Hall on Saturday at 12.30pm. The Methodist Historical Society meeting will be held in Darling Street Methodist premises on Saturday at 7pm.
Many of the Methodist congregations within the District have been assigned a visiting preacher who will also bring the greetings of Conference; clergy of other denominations who have requested a Methodist preacher have also been assigned one.
The Lakelands District Conference Arrangements Committee has been planning the event for over a year now under the chairmanship of the District Superintendent, the Rev. Stephen Taylor (Sligo) and with Secretary, Rev. June Parke (Brookeborough). Sub-groups have taken responsibility for organising hospitality, catering, stewarding, car parking, communications and so on. The congregation in Darling Street is acknowledged for its work in preparing its premises for the Conference.
Further information on the Conference can be found on the website 'www.irishmethodist.org'.