The 2009 10th national gathering of United Methodist Men will be held at Belmont University in Nashville.
The decision to hold the quadrennial event in Nashville will end a 56-year tradition of meeting at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. The first Methodist conference was held at Purdue in 1953. Four thousand men attended that event. By 1957 the event was called the Men’s Congress and 5,000 men were present.
The Rev. David Adams, top staff executive of the General Commission on United Methodist Men, the agency that plans the event, is a graduate of Belmont.
“It is an honor and privilege to partner with Belmont University for our 10th National Gathering of UMM” said Adams. “The beauty of the campus and close proximity of the facilities are ideal for this event.”
Belmont University’s Curb Event Center is a 90,000-square-foot sports and entertainment complex that provides facilities for athletics, concerts, speakers, conferences, dinners and receptions. The Curb Event Center is maintained and operated by fully digital, computerized systems and represents state-of-the-art production capabilities.
“We are excited to welcome the United Methodist Men to the Belmont campus,” Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said. “Their rich tradition of faith, fellowship and community fits perfectly at Belmont, which has been the site of higher education since 1890. Anytime we can welcome esteemed groups to campus with values similar to Belmont’s, we are honored to do so.”
The 20-member Commission on United Methodist Men voted to move the gathering following Belmont’s construction of an event center capable of hosting the 5,000 men expected to attend the July 9-12, 2009, event.
“It’s a new day with a new opportunity for us to provide this meeting,” said Gil Hanke, president of the commission. “The transportation to Nashville is much easier than our previous location, and we felt that it was a time to move this event closer to the center of the population center of the UMC.” He emphasized that Purdue has “done an excellent job,” but he said Nashville offers better logistics, a more family-oriented type of atmosphere and “comparable facilities that can provide an event that will be an exciting and spiritually dynamic encounter with God.”
Butch Spyridon, president of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, is pleased this annual meeting of United Methodist Men is making its new home in Nashville.
“ This announcement is great news for our city. It further solidifies the great reputation that both Nashville and Belmont have developed over the last decade,” Spyridon said. “When a group chooses to move after 56 years you are humbled and honored to be the new destination of choice. Congrats and ‘thanks’ to Belmont and ‘welcome’ to the United Methodist Men.”
“Belmont University to host men’s four-year gathering” – Worldwide Faith News, October 18, 2006