AN EDUCATIONAL UPDATE for OUR COMMITTEES, TEAMS, and CONGREGATION
from your CHRISTIAN EDUCATION COMMITTEE
We hope this update will be helpful to you. There are a couple of events concerning our church that affect us, and so, your Christian Education Committee (Gail Burrow and Pastor Tom) wants you to be aware.
Last June, 2018, the Estes Park United Methodist Church became part of a newly created Conference called “The Mountain Sky Conference”. The former Rocky Mountain Conference (Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming) merged with the Yellowstone Conference (Montana and a small part of Idaho). As a result, we are now part of a much larger Conference called “The Mountain Sky Conference”, making us the largest geographical Conference in the United Methodist Church.
What this means is that, over the next several years, changes will be made concerning staff, clergy, how we plan to communicate among ourselves across so many state lines, retirement benefits, etc. Our understanding of who we are will grow over time, taking on additional missional concerns, like new ones in Montana. Our Bishop’s office and staff might move out of Denver to a more central location. So, keep your eyes open for further changes.
As far as world-wide changes coming up in the United Methodist Church, look forward to a February, 2019 United Methodist Church Conference taking place in St. Louis, Missouri. Delegates will convene to debate and propose how the global United Methodist Church plans to address human sexuality.
There are three or so ways for delegates to address this issue, and those “ways” are called “A Way Forward”. For more information about this, go to the Mountain Sky Conference website, which states:
The Commission on a Way Forward was proposed by the Council of Bishops and approved by the 2016 General Conference to do a complete examination and possible revision of every paragraph of the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and to explore options that help to maintain and strengthen the unity of the church.
The 32-member Commission has been meeting since January 2017 in various places throughout the global denomination to assist the bishops in their charge from the 2016 General Conference to lead the church forward amid the present impasse related to LGBTQ inclusion and resulting questions about the unity of the church.
The Commission will present its final report to the Council of Bishops at the April/May 2018 meeting in Chicago. At that meeting, the bishops will decide what will be received and acted upon by the delegates to the Special Session of the General Conference set for St. Louis, Missouri, February 23-26, 2019.
Also, we can provide more information if you want to drop by the church. We hope you find this update helpful. We just want all to be on the same page as conversations about these matters occur.
Gail and Tom