Mountain Sky Conference
Focus Group Sessions - Quarterly Report
Pathways Team - April 10, 2020
Download the second quarter 2020 report
Previous Reports are at the bottom of this page
Mountain Sky Conference has released the second 2020 quarterly Pathways Focus Sessions report. This second quarterly report shares some of the work done by the Pathways Team to help keep you abreast of developments and directions being explored in advance of GC 2020. Visit the MSC General Conference website at https://www.mtnskyumc.org/general-conference and the Pathways web page at https://www.mtnskyumc.org/pathways-team to learn more.
A New Reality
The recent novel coronavirus has literally reshaped the way we communicate with each other. As of last month, we no longer meet in our churches, and social - physical distancing has become our new reality.
This has resulted in General Conference 2020 being canceled and rescheduled for 2021. The effects on our MSC Annual Conference 2020 will be to change to a primarily digital meeting. Visit the MSC website (https://www.mtnskyumc.org/2020MountainSkyAC) for additional information.
Pathways Response to the “Protocol”
General Conference 2020 was to have been our next opportunity to forge a direction for the United Methodist Church following the adoption of the Traditional Plan during GC 2019. With the implications of the coronavirus, General Conference has been postponed until 2021. We will now have additional time to reflect and formulate new directions.
Many U.S. churches have voiced their dissatisfaction with the direction set forth by General Conference for the United Methodist Church and have actively resisted by declaring intentions to separate. Many plans were proposed and submitted for consideration at General Conference and one late comer — The Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace through Separation — seemed to emerge as an equitable way forward.
The Mountain Sky Conference Pathways and Legal Teams have been actively reviewing all options and have identified three potential outcomes to consider for General Conference 2020.
The following is a brief summary of the possible implications for the MSC and potential legislative postures that may need to be discussed during AC 2020.
Option 1 - Nothing passes GC 2020
If this is the result of GC 2020, Pathways may bring a petition to Annual Conference in 2020 that calls for separation from the United Methodist denomination.
Option 2 - Protocol is adopted but there is no clear path to inclusion in the Post GC 2020 UMC and there is a need for a new Inclusive UMC church.
If this is the result of GC 2020, Pathways may bring a petition to Annual Conference in 2020 that calls for separation from the United Methodist denomination or work with others to establish a new denomination
Option 3 - Protocol is adopted and there is a clear path for inclusion in the Post GC 2020 UMC
The Protocol was conceived as an equitable resolution to a thorny problem for the UMC. It had initial support from a broad spectrum of UMC folks and has weathered criticism so far and remains the best option. But, by itself, the Protocol does not create a path for inclusion.
Possible Outcomes for Option 3 include:
- Legislation could be adopted at GC 2020 allowing for the establishment of U.S. Regional conferences (i.e. Christmas Covenant) allowing for a post GC UMC where conferences establish their own Book of Discipline (BOD) expressions regarding human sexuality.
- The post GC UMC could make substantive changes to the harmful language in the current BOD and move forward immediately.
- It may also be possible to move forward with a longer time frame of incrementally working within the post GC UMC to include inclusive expressions within the church.
The Pathways team will continue to help formulate directions for our conference and keep our members informed.
Cooperation with the Western Jurisdiction
In preparation for the next General Conference, our Western Jurisdiction delegates and others in our conference have been discussing the need for the establishment of a new denomination. The Western Jurisdiction (WJ) includes the Alaska, California-Nevada, California-Pacific, Desert Southwest, Mountain Sky, Oregon-Idaho, and Pacific Northwest conferences.
A working group has developed the following statement:
Led by the Spirit, our task is to create and initiate a Wesleyan movement that celebrates diversity, embodies Jesus and develops faithful ministries of God’s table of Grace.
We are grateful for the leadership and advocacy of the WJ college of bishops. We anticipate that, no matter the outcome of GC2020, we expect to have stronger ties with partners in the west.
Focus Group Sessions Purpose
The intent of these sessions was to focus on creating understanding and enthusiasm for the pathways being explored and suggested and to help build a unity of purpose and vision. The information collected was shared with the Pathways team, the Delegates, the Bishop, and the Cabinet for consideration in their work.