Mission Day

The world is our parish … and Michigan is our Mission.
We’ll spend Saturday at annual conference rediscovering what it means for God to SEND us out in world-transforming mission to local communities here in Michigan and around the world.
From opening worship with Bishop Ott to closing worship with Bishop Palmer, we’ll have a day full of inspiring stories, transformational learning and hands-on work.

Bishop Donald Ott

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Don Ott was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and attended the Milwaukee Public Schools, Carroll College (now University) (B.A. 1961), Waukesha, WI, Perkins School of Theology, Dallas TX, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Garrett Theological Seminary (now Garrett Evangelical) (B.D./M.Div. 1965) in Evanston, IL. Adrian College, Adrian, Ml, Albion College, Albion, MI and Garrett Evangelical conferred honorary degrees, Divinity (1994), Sacred Theology (1997), and Divinity (2012), respectively.

Don Ott was elected to the episcopacy by the North Central Jurisdiction in 1992. He was assigned to the Michigan Area, which includes the Detroit and West Michigan Conferences. He retired in 2000. At the time of his election as bishop, Don Ott was serving as the District Superintendent of the Milwaukee District, WI Conference. Prior to that appointment in 1987, he had served as pastor at: First UMC, Green Bay, WI; Christ Church-United Methodist, Racine, WI; Wesley UMC, Kenosha, WI; Pleasant Prairie UMC, Pleasant Prairie, WI. He was an Associate Council Director and Council Director of the Wisconsin Conference UMC in the period 1974-1982.He was elected a delegate to the General Conferences of1980-1992 and the North Central Jurisdictional Conferences of1976-1992.

Bishop Ott was elected to or assigned to the following agencies of the UMC: the General Council on Finance and Administration (Vice President 1997-2000); the JUSTPEACE Center for Mediation and Conflict Transformation; Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary Board of Trustees; the General Board of Global Ministries; the United Methodist Development Fund (President 1992-1996); United Methodist Communications.

Don and Jan Ott were married December 21, 1963. They are the parents of two children, Denise Lynne Shircel (Thomas) of Kenosha, WI; and Duane Donald Ott (Megan) of Oshkosh, WI. They have seven grandchildren: Nicolas and Madelyn, Brady and Kennedy Ott; Tyler, Amy and Cora Shircel.

In retirement Don Ott was employed by the Council of Bishops to coordinate the Episcopal Initiative on Children and Poverty, 2001-2004. He served the Council as Retiree Correspondent, 2008-2012. He was a long time member of the governing Board of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families and is a member of the City of Pewaudkee, WI Committee on Public Works.

Bishop Gregory Palmer

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Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer was assigned as Episcopal Leader of the Ohio West Area of The United Methodist Church on September 1, 2012.

Born and reared in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Bishop Palmer is a “child of the church,” the son of the Rev. and Mrs. Herbert E. and Charlotte Sue Hewitt Palmer. Bishop Palmer’s father is a retired United Methodist pastor; his mother (now deceased) was a school teacher in the Philadelphia Public School system. Rev. Herbert Palmer and his wife Peggy reside in Philadelphia.

Bishop Palmer received his undergraduate degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and the Master’s of Divinity degree from Duke University Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina. Baldwin-Wallace College, Iowa Wesleyan College, Simpson College, Hood Theological Seminary and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary have all awarded him honorary degrees.

Ordained a deacon and probationary member in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference in 1977, Palmer was ordained an elder in full connection in the East Ohio Conference in 1981.

His pastoral career includes student pastorates in North Carolina and post-seminary appointments in the East Ohio Conference in Cleveland, Canton and Berea. Palmer also served as district superintendent of the Youngstown District of the East Ohio Conference.

In 2000, Palmer was elected to the episcopacy by the North Central Jurisdictional Conference. He was assigned to the Iowa Area where he served until assuming responsibilities in the Illinois Area in 2008. Bishop Palmer served as president of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry from 2004 to 2008 and president of the Council of Bishops from April 2008 to May 2010.

Bishop Palmer has been married to Cynthia for 39 years.  They are the parents of two adult children — Monica, who is a Middle School Administrator in Charlotte, North Carolina and Aaron, who is a manager at a technology company in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Mrs. Palmer is an honors graduate in religion of Duke University. She is a Senior Sales Director with Mary Kay Cosmetics. She has served as a Director of Christian Education and as staff of several Community Action Agencies focused on Welfare to Work projects. She is an outstanding student and teacher of the scriptures and has a strong interest in women’s leadership development.


TOM Talks

You’ve heard of TED Talks? Well, this year’s annual conference will offer TOM Talks … that’s Transformational Outreach and Mission! Hear from leaders across Michigan who are making a difference for people in need and be inspired to take their lessons home to your community. Some of the exciting stories we’ll hear include Cass Community Center’s Faith Fowler; Valerie Mossman-Celestine, Director of the Haitian Artisans for Peace International (HAPI); State Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood; Brandon Smith, director of Spirit Journey and Marci Oliver.

Panel Discussions & Workshops

Saturday afternoon will be your chance to delve deeper into specific mission topics of interest to you and learn directly from experts in the field. Some of the learning sessions will include these topics:

  • Engaging in Mutual Ministry with the Poor
  • The Liberia Task Force
  • From Mercy to Justice: Congregational Community Organizing
  • Act of Repentance: Next Steps Toward New Relationships and Healing
  • Radical Hospitality: Welcoming Immigrants
  • Disaster Response: Embracing Opportunities
  • The Michigan Area Haiti Task Force
  • Walking in Faith with Hispanics/Latinos
  • Prison Ministries

Check back often for updates and be sure to select the workshop of your choice when you register!

Mission fair

Learn more about missions happening here and around the world from nearly 100 vendors and organizations who will share information and display their work at the 2016 Annual Conference Mission Fair.

Hands on mission

We’ll head out in groups on Saturday afternoon to partner with organizations throughout the East Lansing area in supporting on-going mission. Read more about some of the possibilities … and be ready to select your mission project when you register.

Remember to register early to ensure you’ll get a spot on the mission project of your choice.