By Charmaine Robledo
Director of Communications, Mountain Sky Area of The United Methodist Church
In a historic vote, the Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone annual conferences agreed to become the new Mountain Sky Conference on June 9 during a joint gathering at the Eccles Conference Center in Ogden, Utah. The vote followed a full day of debate and amendments, in which the delegates approved a six-section Plan of Union. Bishop Karen Oliveto, of the Mountain Sky Episcopal Area, closed the two conference sessions and reconvened the body as the new Mountain Sky Conference later that Saturday evening.
The approval comes after nearly two decades of discussion about uniting Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone. For the last two years, the groundwork for a new annual conference was done through a process called Mission Shaped Future, which brought together laity and clergy from both conferences to vision and discern what it means 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.”
In the approved Plan of Union, the purpose of the new Mountain Sky Conference is to “renew and establish vital congregations; develop leaders who are gifted at empowering local churches and laity in church mission; and establish new faith communities to meet the needs of our unique mission field.” The six sections of the Plan of Union focus on Clergy Excellence, Conference Organization, Congregational Development, Assets, Property, and Legal, Leadership Excellence, and Community Engagement.
The new Mountain Sky Conference now covers four states: Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and one church in Idaho. It comprises nearly 400 churches and more than 70,000 members. The episcopal office is located in Greenwood Village, Colorado.
For background on Mission Shaped Future and the road to the new Mountain Sky Conference, go to www.mtnskyumc.org/