Sally McConnell to retire as Vital Missions Coordinator

September 21, 2018
Pictured: Sally McConnell (right) with Alfiado Zunguza (center), of the General Board of Global Ministries, and Kutela Katembo (left) after Katembo was commissioned as a United Methodist missionary to the East Angola Conference
It is with profound gratitude and sadness that we announce Sally McConnell’s retirement at the end of September as the Vital Missions Coordinator of the Mountain Sky Conference. Sally has been the face for missions in the legacy Yellowstone Annual Conference for more than a decade.

For Sally, the decision to retire comes at a crossroads with the creation of the new Mountain Sky Conference, but also an established missions program that she has meticulously developed. In her time as the Vital Missions Coordinator, Sally has strengthened the relationship and pastoral support in the East Angola Conference, fostered the storytelling of mission and ministry by local churches, inspired models of collaboration, and managed the online presence for missions work.

"It has been a great joy to work with churches and individuals across the legacy Yellowstone Annual Conference," Sally shared. "They have inspired me and brought me hope as I witnessed the many ways they found to share the love of Jesus with their neighbors and people around the world whom they will never meet. I look forward to volunteering for the kind of things I have been advocating for!"

She will continue on a contract basis to complete a few remaining projects, such as the itineration of one of our East Angola missionary partners in Montana this fall and populating content on the Mountain Sky Conference website with mission stories.

The Rev. David Burt currently pastors at Heart of Longmont United Methodist Church in Colorado, but has known Sally for years both personally and professionally. When he was the Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministry in the legacy Yellowstone Annual Conference, he said Sally was the “perfect missions coordinator” in her time with the conference.

“Her passion and expertise in the area have been on display since long before she ever became the Vital Missions Coordinator,” he added. “Helping the churches in Yellowstone connect with pastors in Angola, advocating for support of our local conference missions, and investing her time and energy in leading congregations to grow their missions outreach have been some of the ways Sally has led our conference. God bless you, Sally, for all you have done.”

Rev. Burt said that a highlight each year at annual conference is the missions celebration that Sally coordinates. At the 2018 annual conference session, the event was three times bigger than past celebrations, but still maintained an enjoyable atmosphere full of food and fellowship. Laurie Day, Director of Community and Congregational Engagement, teamed up with Sally to organize the missions celebration this year and learned first-hand the time and dedication Sally gave to make it happen.

“Missions was not just a job for Sally but remains a deeply-held personal commitment and priority,” Laurie said. “Sally made sure the missions program of the conference was fruitful as well as fun, as evidenced at the missions celebration at annual conference. I will miss her energy and vision.”

Although Bishop Karen Oliveto has known and worked with Sally just these past two years, she said her “passion for mission has been a catalyst in our conference, enriching the lives of so many.” Bishop Oliveto added she is grateful for Sally’s leadership and the ways she helped the legacy Yellowstone Annual Conference “stay outwardly focused, sharing the abundant love of God in tangible ways, not only in the Mountain Sky Area, but around the world.”

Please pray for Sally and her family during this time, as she looks to enter a new season in life and ministry.