Six weeks ago, three hundred people gathered in the sanctuary of Topeka First UMC during Annual Conference to learn about what happened at the national UMCNext gathering and to learn more about what we can do here in the Great Plains. That week the Great Plains Annual Conference took courageous action to adopt the UMCNext principles, renounce the Traditional Plan, apologize for the harm the UMC has caused to LGBTQ+ persons, and establish a grant to raise up LGBTQ+ missional leaders. We elected an overwhelmingly inclusive delegation, and joined voices together to spread a message of hope for an expression of the church we so long to see.
We have reviewed the 120 responses to the survey we sent out during Annual Conference and see incredible hope in each of you. You bring passion, energy, and a resolve to create change right here in the Great Plains from the ground up. As our GP UMCNext Team discerned how to best move forward, we came to the consensus that our role (and your role) will be working to make sure Great Plains churches are resourced in ways that make sense to us locally.
Our action plan includes implementing the following:
Great Plains Next News. This will be your guide for resources, information about resistance, and hearing stories of how Great Plains people and Great Plains churches are doing the work of living out the four principles.
Resource Team. This team, led by Rev. Lora Andrews, will collect and provide resources to facilitate inclusion at the local level. Resources will include things like language guides, small group studies, and information on how to have difficult conversations.
Resistance Team. This team, led by Rev. Debra McKnight, will offer individual, church, and conference wide opportunities to actively resist the Traditional Plan.
What Can You Do Next?
Send Us Your Story – We believe stories matter and inspire others. Great Plains Next News will include stories from people right here in Kansas and Nebraska. You could share anything from how you came to be a person committed to inclusion of LGBTQ+ people to how your local church is responding to General Conference 2019. Did your church participate in your local PRIDE festivities? Send us pictures and tell us about it! We are not alone and we’d love the chance to share your story with others. Click here to share.
Adopt the UMCNext Principles – Our Annual Conference resolution included a call to action that each congregation have a converastion about the four principles of UMCNext. One way to have this conversation is in the context of adopting them as a congregation like we did as an Annual Conference. If congregation-wide is too much for your context right now, consider your Missions Team, Social Justice Team, or a small group.
Share this Page – We are counting on all of you to spread the word. Encourage your friends to sign up for the Great Plains UMCNext News emails. Tell your Sunday School classes and networks about ways to keep informed
Praying Our Way Forward
We are here and present to you God of All.
Open our minds to questions and seeking.
Open our lips to words of wisdom and grace.
Open our eyes to see all the others.
Open our arms to embrace your Way.
Open our hands to serve each and every one.
Open our hearts in love and compassion.
Open our being to the movement of the Spirit.
Open us all, our church, our United Methodist Church…
To the Way of Jesus;
Inclusive, Justice filled, Compassionate, and Humble.
Embrace and Inspire the bishops, delegates, workers, clerks, attendees…
Of our upcoming General Conference of 2019…
Open our church to listen and hear the voice of love as we trust the Spirit to move us through this Way Forward.
May it be so. May it be now.