Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Missouri 2020 Delegation Update

The 2020 Missouri Delegation has been working hard in these past couple of months.

+ In November, the Missouri Delegation officially endorsed Rev. Sally Haynes as a candidate for bishop. Sally had shared with the delegation at our September meeting that she was discerning a call to bishop. At that meeting, there was a sharing of initial thoughts, a prayer for discernment, and an outline for the process ahead. In November, Sally shared some updates with the group, there was a time of questioning and healthy conversation, and then the delegation voted our support of Sally’s candidacy. We ask for continued prayers for the remainder of the process ahead. 

+ In our meetings thus far, we have been coached by Rev. Melissa Bailey-Kirk, who is a trained facilitator in the Circle Way of meeting. Our hope has been to set a different tone for our work together, one of trust and openness, so that our work may be done as a spiritually centered and fully engaged delegation. We are so grateful to Melissa for coaching us through our first few gatherings.

+ We have had several other guests with us, providing input into our work process. Rev. Jessica Foster and Rev. Chelsey Hillyer spoke with us about their participation in the UM Forward meeting last Spring. We spent some time speaking with Terry Shoemaker and Ross Lundstrom from Wespath about legislation Wespath is proposing for General Conference this year. We had conversation with Rev. Bob Phillips of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference about his participation in the Wesley Covenant Association. Each guest was invited so that Missouri might be fully engaged in our important work.

+ Delegation member Rev. Kim Jenne was able to connect with members of both Mozambique Annual Conferences’ delegations on a recent trip. She conveyed greetings on behalf of the Missouri delegations, presented a letter, and had a very meaningful conversation about General Conference legislation and the hopes and dreams for the future of the United Methodist Church. It is our intention to stay in contact with our siblings from Mozambique, and to share a meal with them in Minneapolis in May.

+ The delegation is anticipating receiving our written material in January 2020. Once we get our copies of the “Advance Daily Christian Advocate” we will know exactly what individual petitions are connected with what larger “plans” you may have read about. There are fourteen legislative committees that initially deal with General Conference petitions, prior to them coming to the larger group during the conference’s second week. That means the General Conference is never talking about a single plan in its entirety. Our system breaks the plans down into smaller petitions based on the paragraph of the Book of Discipline that is impacted. Please keep your Missouri delegates in prayer as we carefully read through the pages of petitions that we will consider in May.

+ The next time the delegation will meet together will be in February, when we will meet in Oklahoma City with other delegations of the South Central Jurisdiction. At that gathering, individual delegations will have the opportunity to interview the endorsed candidates for bishop. There will be opportunities to discuss General Conference legislation, and to connect with other delegates from the various Annual Conferences of our Jurisdiction. 

It is our desire to be as transparent as we can about the work we are doing. This is a significant moment in the life of the United Methodist Church, and it is a privilege to be serving in this capacity at this time. We long to be centered in God’s Spirit, and to be equipped by God’s grace to serve the church to the utmost of our capacity. And we need your prayers in order to do so. Thank you for all the encouragement that has been offered thus far, and as we swing into Spring and get really busy, we’ll be relying on your prayers more and more. 

May God’s grace and peace be with us all. Amen.