Minnesota Conference Response
Like all churches, we are seeking to take care of our staff. We have moved all conference staff to remote work until further notice. They are still ready and able to assist you. During business hours, someone is always answering the main office number (612-870-0058), but we strongly recommend emailing to begin a conversation with a staff member when possible since all staff are regularly checking email at home. See the staff directory for each person’s full contact information. For questions about:
Please consider sending email, rather than postal mail to the conference office, when possible. Click here to learn how to send (apportionment or other) payments to the conference electronically and/or to request payments from the conference office if your church or ministry receives funding.
Monitoring cash flow
We are monitoring our cash flow so that we can preserve resources in this time of economic uncertainty. We have put a freeze on non-essential spending. At this time, we are still fully funding our new church starts, and the commitments we have already made through our Investing in Congregations grant program. Some other efforts, like the next round of church-school partnership grants, we have put on hold. We have paid close attention to our reserves and have mapped out various scenarios for budget reductions so that we can adapt quickly to changing circumstances. We want to be responsive without over-reacting.
Supporting churches and clergy
- The Minnesota Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits committed $915,000 of our reserves to fund a three-month health and pension holiday for all churches.
- District superintendents have been in conversation with every clergyperson over the past three weeks to check in, listen, and encourage.
- We have made our cloud-based video conferencing service, BlueJeans, available to local churches for staff and leadership team meetings (learn more here).
- Our finance office and Minnesota United Methodist Foundation are resourcing clergy and responding to churches’ questions around the provisions of the CARES Act and how to make responsible financial decisions in these times.
More ways the Minnesota Conference is responding
- In accordance with the latest Centers for Disease Control and Minnesota Department of Health recommendations, all Minnesota Conference-sponsored events for the foreseeable future will move to virtual gatherings. Events for which that is not possible will be cancelled or postponed. We are exploring how to move in-person gatherings like the Clergy Leadership Academy, Ending Well, and the ordinands’ retreat into virtual events.
- Conference-sponsored summer programs at Dakotas-Minnesota United Methodist Camp and Retreat Centers will be suspended through August 29, 2020 at Lake Poinsett, Wesley Acres, and Storm Mountain in the Dakotas, and Northern Pines, Camp Koronis, and Kowakan Adventures in Minnesota. Camp staff will continue to work closely with local, state, and federal health officials as well as annual conference leadership to determine when it is safe to return to full operation. Camp staff remain working and are available to answer registration questions.
- We have a COVID-19 response team that meets frequently each week to share and process new information so that we can pass along helpful information and recommendations to you.
- We have made the decision to cancel the joint Dakotas-Minnesota Annual Conference, scheduled for June 10-12, 2020 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The May 28 Minnesota Clergy Session has also been canceled and will be conducted virtually in the afternoon of Friday, Aug. 28. The Annual Conference session will meet virtually on Saturday, Aug. 29. In order to do this, we will substantially pare down our session to focus on what is essential.
- We received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program under the federal CARES Act so that we can stretch our reserves to help us keep underwriting ministry.