About 1,500 people are expected to be in Springfield for the United Methodist Church Missouri Conference June 7-10 and many of them will be participating in civic projects that will benefit the community.

This year’s annual conference theme is “Praying Hands and Dirty Fingernails,” borrowed from the title of the fifth chapter in Bishop Robert Schnase’s book “Remember the Future” that focuses on the importance of the church’s combined role of acts of piety and acts of mercy. The schedule will give conference members an opportunity for both during the June 7-10 session.

Hands-on mission experiences are planned for Saturday afternoon at various locations around Springfield, as well as an opportunity to work on walls of a Habitat for Humanity house that will be on site at the conference session.

Missouri Methodists will learn more about how they can continue to increase their efforts of eliminating malaria from Africa from Bishop Thomas Bickerton from western Pennsylvania who has been at the head of the cause from the first formation of Nothing But Nets. He will lead the Saturday morning learning time, teaching about the latest phase of the Imagine No Malaria campaign. He will also lead a workshop Saturday afternoon and preach for the ordination service that evening.

Juanita Rasmus of St. John’s UMC in Houston, Texas, will lead the Sunday morning learning time, focusing on prayer. Beginning with nine existing members in 1992 with her husband Rudy, St. John’s has grown to more than 9,000 members (3,000 of the total either are or were formerly homeless) and has become one of the most culturally diverse congregations in the country where every week people of every social and economic background share the same pew. They attribute the success of the church to a compassionate congregation that has embraced the vision of tearing down the walls of classism, sexism and racism and building the bridges of unconditional love and universal recovery.

The annual conference will be given many opportunities to learn about and experience different forms of prayer, prayer walks, use a prayer labyrinth and have someone pray for them.

Workshops also will be conducted Saturday and Sunday.

Some favorite activities from past annual conferences will be on the schedule again this year. Friday night will feature a street party similar to the one in 2012. Sunday morning will again feature a 5K run and a UMW walk for mission.

For more information, including a detailed agenda, visit www.MoUMethodist.org/acinfo.

To learn more about this and other conventions and events brought to Springfield by the Convention & Visitors Bureau, call 417-881-5300 or 800-678-8767 or visit www.SelectSpringfield.com. The CVB is a nonprofit organization dedicated to boosting the local economy by promoting travel and tourism to Springfield.