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 is set to go 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
Breaking up would be hard to do – Oct. 1, 2019
Conference charts 'way forward' with LGBTQ people – Oct. 28, 2019
Bishop suggests hold on trials, trust clause – Nov. 1, 2019
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
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. All laity and clergy are invited to these listening sessions, which will be held this fall and winter. Click here for Focus Session dates
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.
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.
Western Jurisdiction Fresh United Methodism Summit, Nov. 14-16, 2019
The Western Jurisdiction Fresh United Methodism Summit last week 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.”
Desert Southwest Conference holds special session Sept. 14
The Special Session, which was authorized by vote at the regular June session of the Annual Conference, made it possible to pay close attention to the voices of the Annual Conference expressed through aspirational resolutions. Most petitions were considered during the regular session of the 2019 Annual Conference. Special Session offered another chance for all sides to respectfully come together, listen, and discern the way forward for the Desert Southwest Conference.
Bishop Stanovsky announces Greater Northwest Area guiding coalition
In the wake of the exclusionary and punitive actions of General Conference 2019, Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky is announcing the formation of a Greater Northwest Area Guiding Coalition. The coalition will help to shape and lead a new movement of Methodism in the Northwest that fully includes LGBTQIA+persons in membership, participation and leadership, both lay and ordained.
In conversations with people inside and outside our churches, listening deeply to voices on the margins, the group will develop proposals for United Methodists across the Greater Northwest to move into a future of vital, inclusive, innovative, multiplying, engaged Christian ministry in the Wesleyan Tradition. Read more on the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area website
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.