A conference lay leader is the elected leader of conference laity and has the responsibility of fostering awareness of the role of the laity both within the congregation and through their ministries in the home, workplace, community, and world in achieving the mission of the Church. The conference lay leader also enables and supports lay participation in the planning and decision-making processes of the annual conference, district, and local church in cooperation with the bishop, district superintendents, and pastors.
Mountain Sky Conference values a diverse community and strongly encourages women, people of color, LGBT individuals, people with disabilities, members of ethnic minorities, foreign-born residents, and veterans to apply.
Gayla Jo Slauson, elected in 2018 as a Mountain Sky Conference Lay Leader, lives in Grand Junction, Colorado. She and her husband, Michael, both retired from teaching Business at Colorado Mesa University, enjoy traveling to sightsee and to visit their siblings, children and grandchildren, extended family and friends. They attend Crossroads United Methodist Church.
Faith and friends have helped them to navigate first the tragic loss of a daughter and son-in-law to an auto accident in 2019, and second an operation and cancer treatments in 2020.
As a certified lay speaker, Gayla often brings the message at various churches. She also serves as an elected delegate for General and Jurisdictional Conferences 2020-2024. Her favorite hobby is reading, closely followed by writing and painting miniature canvases.
Recently Life Focus Scriptures for her include Philippians 4:8 regarding whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy as those things we are to think about (meditate on)… and from v.9 … the God of peace will be with us.
Nancy Flint, elected in 2020 as a Mountain Sky Lay Leader, lives in Columbia Falls, Montana. She is a retired public-school teacher. She and her husband, Fred, moved to Montana over forty years ago and raised their two sons. Gardening along with paddling on the lakes and tripping in the Bob Marshall Wilderness have added spice to their lives. Two active granddaughters keep them cheering as they celebrate everyday milestones.
Experiencing God’s love and new creation each day is a part of the spiritual discipline Nancy embraces. She completed the Two-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation, an Upper Room program for lay and clergy in 2015. Since then, Nancy has offered leadership for three 5 Day Spiritual Academies in the Conference.
In both the Mountain Sky Conference and local church Nancy is involved with Missions Team. She volunteered on a Disaster Recovery team to Texas in 2018. She celebrates with the Mountain Sky Conference as it continues its partnership with the East Angola Conference begun with the legacy Yellowstone Conference to support local pastors and Quessua Mission projects.
Being a lifelong learner is a value Nancy desired to instill in her students. She hopes hobbies which include travel both near and far, reading, and watercolor painting help her achieve being engaged as a learner, her personal goal.
Guiding scriptures include 1 Thessalonians:12 “May the Lord cause you to increase and enrich your love for each other and for everyone in the same way as we also love you.” And Psalm 121: 2 “My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”
I was elected together with Nancy Flint as Mountain Sky Conference Co-Lay Leaders in June of 2020. (In the quadrennial year of the United Methodist Church we elect two members as Co-Lay Leaders.) The COVID-19 pandemic made for interesting times as this was our first ever virtual annual conference and by no means a normal introduction to the process.
I characterize my faith journey as a slow, steady, progression of entanglement with the person of Jesus. As a youth I felt the tug of wonder about who I was and where I would go. And then I wandered away from the church and my connection with Christ… But as so many may attest, I was “found” and graciously guided back to the family of God.
My passions are reading, teaching, fly fishing, and being a husband and father. I find joy in each of these and they sustain me and cause me to appreciate this gift of life.
This journey has taken me from a grand congregational church in Connecticut, to a small brown Presbyterian church in California to Hilltop United Methodist Church in Sandy, Utah. Along the way, my engagement in the life of these churches has grown from Youth group member to Sunday school teacher to Lay leader, and now as a Mountain Sky Conference Co-Lay leader. Each step has drawn me closer to Jesus as my savior.
While there are many passages in the Bible that have captured my heart, the one that has stood out the most for me involves reflecting on God’s care for creation - Matthew 6:25-34 - sometimes titled The Cure for Anxiety - “Look at the birds of the sky, that they do not sow, nor reap, nor gather crops into barn and yet your heavenly Father feeds them”. It always triggers my imagination to be more curious about life and not forget to wonder about why we are here.