Submitted by the Rev. Marv Vose
Superintendent, Utah/Western Colorado District
Mountain Sky Conference
God was doing a new thing in the creation of the Mountain Sky Conference! Building on more than 20 years of conversation, planning, and discernment, the legacy Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain conferences voted more than 85 percent to affirm this vision at our uniting conference in June 2018. In that creation, we had the opportunity to clarify who we are in God’s great creation, as a witness for Christ in our 460,000 square mile region, and what we value most.
At that uniting conference, we claimed a new mission: To live in God’s grace and abundance as we lead a re-energized peaceful and compassionate movement to claim the life-changing love of Jesus Christ for ALL people
. We also claimed three core foci for our energy and resources:
- Renewing and establishing vital congregations
- Developing leaders who are gifted at empowering local churches and laity in the Church’s mission
- Establishing new faith communities to meet the needs of our unique mission field
We are still living into that new creation. We are listening, learning, praying, planning, experimenting, and serving with the shared values of accountability, inclusivity, collaboration, outwardly-focused, simplicity with transparency, breaking barriers and building bridges, and honoring diverse voices and ideas. Laity and clergy are essential partners in this work. We are building a new culture and discovering God at work in new places with new people.
Even in the aftermath of General Conference 2019, it is clear that God is still doing something a new in our midst! And while we may not perceive it clearly yet, it is becoming more and more obvious. With the change comes concern and anxiety. We would love to know all of God’s details today! And yet waiting is a profound spiritual discipline requiring our trust in God’s provision for us all.
In order to continue our work with the Spirit, Bishop Karen appointed seven teams following the General Conference in February to help us discern our way forward with God. These teams include: Core Team, Legal Team, Triage Team, Safe Harbor Team, New Places for New People, Communications, and Fundraising. There will be a series of articles about each team to be posted online and shared in the Mountain Sky Conference News.
Commitments that drive the work of these teams include continuing our ministries of grace and inclusion of all. We want to continue what is best in the Wesleyan movement and the United Methodist Church. We value our connection and our shared ministries. There is so much that is good and vital! But how do we let go of that which hinders ministry and impedes the work of the Spirit? As we go forward together as a Conference, that is our challenge.
The Core Team has been tasked with “formulating strategies for living fully into our values as a conference, as we live with the realities of General Conference decisions.” Most can agree that we do not want a repeat of General Conference 2019 at General Conference 2020. Not only was GC19 conflicted, but the outcomes mandate changes in our theology, our mission and ministry that are unacceptable to most of the Mountain Sky Conference.
Right now there are multiple conversations going on around the country concerning GC20 and the future of The United Methodist Church. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of The Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, is working with centrists and progressives who wish to be in conversation about the church’s future. Keith Boyette, of the Wesley Covenant Association, is working with a group of national leaders across the theological spectrum. There are others in conversation and discernment as well.
But the time is short. And the political realities are that 2020 may well continue what happened in 2019. How then do we maintain our focus on grace and inclusion? How do we live into this new thing God is doing? How do we maintain the best of The United Methodist Church and the best of the Wesleyan movement? How do we protect the vital ministries of our area? If GC2020 fails us again, then we must be prepared! That is the work of the Core Team.
The Core Team includes: Marv Vose (chair, clergy), Jasper Peters (clergy), Melanie Rosa (clergy), Calvin Hill (clergy), Doug Palmer (laity), Mark Feldmeir (clergy), Barry Welliver (laity), Chris Frasier (laity), Melissa Martin (laity), Pat Calbeck Harper (laity) and Wendy Ochs (clergy).
If you would like to communicate with any of the team chairs, please use this contact form.