Over the next months leading up to General Conference 2020, we will provide members of the Mountain Sky Conference with news and resources about The United Methodist Church. This page will be updated regularly. If you have questions, please contact the Communications Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In February 2019, a special called session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church convened in St. Louis, Mo. The session was called by the Council of Bishops to solely address human sexuality in The United Methodist Church. The delegates were assembled to consider three plans from the Commission on a Way Forward.
Delegates passed the Traditional Plan, which would "affirm the church’s current bans on ordaining LGBTQ clergy and officiating at or hosting same-sex marriage. It also boosts penalties and accountability for transgressions of those bans," according to a report from United Methodist News Service on Feb. 26, 2019. The plan went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
Since then, several groups within the connection have gathered to offer alternative options for a Way Forward. Legislation has been submitted for consideration and possible enactment by the General Conference when it meets again in May 2020.
The following list is not exhaustive, but includes those plans that have been distributed publicly. Other plans have been submitted and will be available for consideration by General Conference delegates when it has been translated into the four official languages.
*Links from caucus groups are for information, not endorsement
Church exit plan already in effect, court says – Nov. 1, 2019
5 bishops pledge LGBTQ ‘safe harbor’ – Nov. 6, 2019
WCA looks toward new, traditionalist church – Nov. 11, 2019
Gathering dreams of inclusive future – Nov. 18, 2019
Budgeting for an uncertain future – Nov. 19, 2019
US dips below majority of membership – Nov. 25, 2019
Scripture key to first draft of WCA discipline – Dec. 4, 2019
As GC2020 nears, fewer keep to the sidelines – Dec. 10, 2019
Alaska moves to become ‘mission district’ – Dec. 13, 2019
Reaction aplenty to separation plan – Jan. 6, 2020
Protocol process painful but fruitful – Jan. 10, 2020
Foretaste of what’s on the table at GC2020 – Jan. 30, 2020
United Methodist Schism and the ‘Protocol’ of 2020 – Jan. 17, 2020
As stated in this letter from Bishop Karen Oliveto, "the Mountain Sky Conference has a legacy of modeling a church that welcomes everyone. We will continue to be a beacon of hope to those who are wondering if there is a place for them in God’s family."
The Pathways Team, which was created in response to petition MSC-09 approved in June, will partner with each Mountain Sky Conference district to offer listening sessions around the vision of our future. The sessions will be led by leaders knowledgeable of General Conference issues. You are invited to come and share your hopes and dreams for the future of the church.
Do you need to contact the Pathways Team? Use this online contact form.
Consider having a "Conversation with a Delegate" moment at your next district, circuit, or local church meeting. The best way to reach all of the delegates is through the online contact form. You can invite delegates to a meeting, ask a question or share a concern. Don't know who your delegates are? Go to the Annual, Jurisdictional and General Conferences page on the Mountain Sky Conference website. Read the 2019 Mountain Sky Annual Conference report online.
The United Methodist Association of Retired Clergy hosted this one-day event, in partnership with the Mountain Sky Conference, for close to 300 laity and clergy on Dec. 6 at St. Andrew UMC in Highlands Ranch, Colo. The main presenter was Rev. Dr. Mark Holland, Executive Director of Mainstream UMC. Focused conversations followed with topics such as: Congregational Strategies, Resistance & Resilience, and an overview of the Western Jurisdiction Fresh United Methodism Summit. Bishop Karen Oliveto preached the closing worship service. See photos from the event. Video links from the livestream are available online: www.umarc.org/what-s-new.
A working group of the Western Jurisdiction was elected by the 200+ United Methodists who came together at the Fresh United Methodism Summit in Los Angeles in November. This working group’s charge at the close of the Summit was to continue and expound upon the work the Summit yielded. We have taken that charge to heart as we embark on that work.
The working group met in Denver January 2 – 4. We would like to share how the Spirit’s presence at the Summit has continued to guide us as we discern our next steps. Read more
Western Jurisdiction United Methodist bishops intend to set aside complaints against clergy accused of being gay or performing LGBTQ+ weddings; urge others to join them.
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C., Nov. 6 – As new restrictions loom against LGBTQ+ persons in The United Methodist Church, the five active bishops in the Western Jurisdiction (region of the United States) are offering a Safe Harbor to LGBTQ+ clergy and are urging bishops and other United Methodists to join them.
The bishops have asked their colleagues on the denomination’s Council of Bishops to sign their declaration and urged other clergy and laypersons across the church to join them in supporting the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in all parts of the life of the church. They made their request during the Council’s meeting at Lake Junaluska, N.C.
The Western Jurisdiction Fresh United Methodism Summit held Nov. 14-16 focused on helping annual conference leaders prepare for the denomination’s 2020 General Conference and the ensuing Jurisdictional (Regional) Conference. The video, "We are the Mountain Sky Conference!" was shown at the summit to illustrate the diversity and great beauty of our geography and our people. Read more updates below on the Fresh United Methodism Summit.
Leadership makes space for fresh ideas from new voices at the Fresh United Methodism Summit
On its final day, attendees at the Western Jurisdiction Fresh United Methodism Summit supported a plan to create a process for envisioning a new denominational structure. The proposal voted “most viable” of those created during the “Sprint” collaborative work done at the summit establishes a 10-member team to brainstorm, using other ideas generated at the summit, and create a first draft of a “clear mission and a clear structure” for the jurisdiction. This draft is to be presented to the 2020 jurisdictional conference. Read more
Western Jurisdiction “Fresh United Methodism Summit” affirms LGBTQ+ support; leaders see it as a 'Movement Moment' to help discern its future in the Church
More than 200 laypersons, clergy, and bishops gathered in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 14-16 for the Western Jurisdiction’s Fresh United Methodism Summit to help prepare for the denomination’s 2020 General Conference and the ensuing Jurisdictional (Regional) Conference.
The Western Jurisdiction’s Leadership Team, which called for the gathering, concluded that the summit was a “movement moment in The United Methodist Church. The future of the church will come out of the vision of our younger people, leaders who stepped into the forefront of work of the summit.” Read more
A Report from the Western Jurisdiction Leadership Team
In the midst of the nearly 50-year struggle over the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons in The United Methodist Church, more than 200 laypersons, clergy, and bishops gathered in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 14-16 for the Western Jurisdiction’s Fresh United Methodism Summit to seek God’s guidance as we prepare for the 2020 General Conference. Read more
“Grounded in our Wesleyan heritage, we will foster a new movement to gather the energy of inclusive United Methodists throughout our global connection.”
Special thanks to Patrick Scriven, Director of Communications & Young People's Ministries for the Pacific Northwest Conference, for collaborating on the content for this page.