Seeking to be a More Accessible Annual Conference


Year-after-year, the Annual Conference Sessions Team seeks to improve accessibility services at the Annual Conference Session. As we work together to become a Church that reflects God’s diverse kingdom, we want all abilities represented in the voting members at Annual Conference. Accessibility services make that possible. Below are the services the Sessions Team implemented at the 2023 Session.

Assistive Listening Devices

You might provide devices like these at your local church. Assisted listening devices pipe the house audio feed, what the room hears, into a user’s headset at a louder volume. Research from the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) says that people who are hard of hearing require a volume increase of 15 to 25 decibels to achieve the same level of understanding as people with normal hearing. An assistive listening device provides this without increasing the volume for the rest of the room.

Sign Language Interpretation

In the past, we always provided sign language interpretation at our major worship services. More recently, we’ve recognized that our audience at Annual Conference is primarily hard of hearing, not fully deaf, and would benefit more from assistive listening devices than interpretive services. Most people who become hard of hearing later in life don’t learn a sign language, like American Sign Language. The Sessions Team includes this service as an option on the Annual Conference registration to communicate that it will be provided if needed.

Captioning Services

In 2021, we offered a live captioning feed for the Conference Session for the first time, but it wasn’t embedded or overlaid on the livestream video. To remedy that, we changed vendors and, since 2022, have offered embedded, live, open captioning with our Annual Conference livestream. In the future, we hope to provide caption devices that would allow participants physically present at Annual Conference to utilize the live captioning via an electronic device.

Large-Print Materials

When requested via the registration form, the Sessions team offers large-print versions of any provided printed materials. This includes worship guides, programs and other handouts distributed to the Session at large during Conference.

Priority Seating

Ushers have permission to seat those who need to be more proximate to a screen in special, reserved seating.

Mobility Aids

Wheelchairs and golf carts are available at every Session to help members travel from their cars to the building and move about the convention center upon arrival. 

If you have feedback or have a member who could attend the Annual Conference with the assistance of accessibility services, don’t hesitate to reach out. Send a note via

Disability Resources

Did you know the United Methodist Church has Disability Ministries Committee? A partner ministry of the UMC General Commission on Race and Religion, UMCDMC provides tons of resources and guidance for making your place of worship accessible to all. 

Visit to learn what UMCDMC provides and how to stay connected with its work.