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Does Your Annual Conference Require English to Participate?

Step into most churches or look around your annual conference meeting. They look nothing like the communities that they serve. As the United States gets more and more diverse, the church remains almost entirely white. From Pentecost to the Great Commission to the responsibility of the Sermon on the Mount, God desires a vibrant, multiethnic and multilingual church. Think about your annual conference, do you need to speak English to participate?

Two keys to unlock full participation in your Annual Conference

Your annual conference can take two key steps towards unlocking full participation and belonging for those who speak and read other languages. These keys enable your annual conference and its congregations to start welcoming people of different ethnicities and backgrounds to fully participate in and lead in the church. These keys also unlock a solution to churches that are growing older and dealing with the impacts of hearing loss, bringing Methodists of all ages into the fold.

Key 1: Pass the Microphone… and Translate It

One of the most meaningful ways that churches, districts, and annual conferences can bring people of different ethnicities into the conversation is by handing them the microphone. When we offer people an opportunity to speak naturally in their native tongue to lead worship, offer prayer, and preach the gospel, it builds a sense of belonging.

You can also build an inclusive presbytery and support your local community by rotating the types of meals served as Presbytery meetings. Food brings people together. Imagine the kinds of conversations and relationships that your presbytery might have if it intentionally includes meals from different cultures in your community.

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Key 2: Caption Everything

Look around at our world today – from TV shows to YouTube videos to TikToks, captions are everywhere. Researchers have found that more than 50% of Americans use captions to better understand content especially as people get older.  Additionally, many non-English speakers find it easier to understand spoken language when it is captioned. As our aging congregations deal with the effects of hearing loss, it’s time for churches and annual conferences to bring live captions to our sermons, prayers, worship, and videos.

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Spf.io is here to help.

Translation should not be an afterthought, but with spf.io, we make it easy for you by handling the translation process for your content (agendas, minutes, budgets, attachments, meeting recordings, presentation slides, and other videos), as well as your live real-time events. Whether you are meeting in-person, hybrid, or virtually, spf.io works for you. Real-time captioning and translation for annual conferences is made possible with our affordable and easy-to-use tools.

Imagination Exercise

You are visiting a church that only speaks Korean. You only know a few words, but you have heard of the good work this church is doing in the community.  Close your eyes and think about these questions:

  • You find a seat in the back. Do you feel welcome?
  • Worship begins and the songs sound familiar, but you are not sure. What do you do?
  • The sermon dives deep into the Korean meanings of the words of scripture. Do you understand?
  • After the service you are greeted by the pastor who only speaks Korean. Do you feel like you belong?
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Want to Learn More?

We are happy to meet with you for a free discovery call to learn about the needs of your district or annual conference, and to share the many ways that spf.io can be of service to you.

Have doubts about AI generated translations? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Spf.io’s Translation for Annual Conferences plan uses a custom AI-engine which is specifically designed to pick up on Methodist terms that other AI-based services miss entirely. Think of the denomination’s favorite words like ‘vestments,’ ‘Wesleyan,’ ‘jurisdiction,’ ‘intercession,’ ‘petition to the General Conference,’ ‘Book of Resolutions,’ or even ‘Council of Bishops,’ Spf.io is specially built for Methodists and our sometimes-confusing vocabulary of acronyms.

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