A letter from your Western Jurisdictional Conference delegates

July 22, 2016
Greetings to our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain Annual Conferences,

We want to thank you for your prayers and support while your delegation of clergy and laity represented you at the Western Jurisdiction Conference. July 13 to 16 we met with elected delegates from every conference in the Western U.S. The meeting was spirit-filled with vision of how our United Methodist Church will move forward with Wesley’s vision of grace and an example of Jesus’ love to the rest of the United States. One of the duties we had was selecting a bishop to replace Bishop Warner Brown, who is retiring. This responsibility was carried out with much prayer and Christian conferencing throughout which we worked on discerning who would best support God’s vision for our Jurisdiction, our Conference, our local churches and our communities. We looked for:
  • A leader who was grounded in our Wesleyan tradition and God’s grace being for all. We looked for a person who would tirelessly work with clergy and laity to instill this vision in our lives as Christian community.
  • A leader who believes in formation, training and deployment of our laity to work in the margins of our communities and share in the leadership of our Conference, Jurisdiction and global church.
  • A leader who understands the breadth of our small rural area communities to our large major city urban centers and how our church can be in mission to each of these areas and be the agent of transformational change of creating disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Your jurisdiction and delegation, through prayer and discernment, found the Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto best met these qualifications. Bishop Oliveto has led small and large churches in small communities and major cities. She has strongly supported the growth of lay leadership both in leading their church as well as leading outreach in mission to the community they served.

After the election of Bishop Oliveto, the Western Jurisdiction Episcopacy Committee met and determined the assignments of the bishops. Bishop Karen Oliveto was assigned to our Mountain Sky Area and it is with great joy we invite you to join us in welcoming her to the Mountain Sky. To understand more about the assignment process, we invite you to read Rev. Brad Laurvick’s letter describing this process or to watch a series of videos found at highlandsumc.com/umcbishops.
We recognize lay and clergy may have questions for us regarding such headlines as, “United Methodist Church Elects First Openly Gay Bishop, In Defiance Of Church Rules” (NPR July 16, 2016). We want to make ourselves available to meet with churches, lay people, and clergy to be in dialogue about the election. This election was done with careful prayer and the election was completed by seeking the person who was best qualified to be our bishop. We completed our election and evaluation with God’s grace not giving bias to gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national identity.  It was through God’s grace that we have recognized Bishop Oliveto’s call to serve as our bishop and to lead us into a future full of that grace. We followed deeply the teaching of our church in prayer, the strong tradition of scripture guided our work, and we also were led by the Holy Spirit which we have learned deeply from the winds that sweep across the Mountain Sky.

We continue to work with our appointive leadership to compile a list of resources to help churches, laity and clergy to respond to the questions of their fellow disciples at www.rmcumc.org/mediapacket. If you would like us to visit your church or desire further personal inquiry, please contact any of the delegation members below.

God’s grace and peace to you all,

The Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegations

Email the entire delegation at GCJCdelegation@rmcumc.com

Many of our delegation are listed below if you wish to contact them directly. 

Tyler Amundson tamundson@stpaulshelena.org
Dave Andersen Andersenhel@aol.com
Megan Armstrong armstrong.megan@gmail.com
Judy Hill judyh@plainstel.com
Margaret Hotze margarethotze.umw@gmail.com
Diane Martin biblio2teca@gmail.com
Kent Ingram KentI@fumc-cs.org
Cathie Kelsey cathie.kelsey@gmail.com
Brad Laurvick brad@highlandsumc.com
Donald McCammon mccammond@montana.com
Doug Palmer dougpalmer52@comcast.net
Peg Plimpton peggi@montana.com
Jessica Rooks revjessrooks@hotmail.com
Jeremy Scott jeremywilliamscott@gmail.com
Walter "Skip" Strickland skip@rmcumc.com
Kunle Taiwo ktarch@att.net
Havea (Harvey) Tukutau hhtukutau@hotmail.com
Ruth Wills ruthmwills@aol.com