By: Christa Meland
In addition to adopting an inclusive vision for the Minnesota Conference and responding to the Traditional Plan, members of the 2019 Annual Conference Session discussed and voted on several other pieces of legislation on Wednesday and Thursday—and elected delegates to represent them at the 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conferences. Click here to read the full pieces of legislation. Here’s a brief synopsis of key items:
Flat 2020 budget: Members approved a 2020 apportioned budget totaling $6,327,706. This amount represents no change from the 2019 approved budget. With an “uncollectible contingency” of $725,000, the total to be apportioned is $7,052,706. The uncollectible contingency accommodates anticipated shortfalls in some churches’ apportionment payments. Through the 2020 budget, the Minnesota Conference will continue to invest in these key initiatives:
· Reaching new people through church planting, church revitalization, and multiplication initiatives
· Recruiting and raising up new leaders through The ELI Project college internship program and lay servant ministries
· Equipping and supporting clergy throughout their whole career through initiatives such as the Clergy Leadership Academy and Shmita
· Reaching the next generation through Camp Minnesota, youth ministry, and campus ministry
· Providing vital resources to congregations
· Healing a broken world through disaster relief, Hopeful EarthKeepers, and OC Ministries, among other efforts
2020 General and Jurisdictional Conference delegates: On Tuesday and Wednesday, members elected delegates to represent them at the 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conferences. Rev. Carol Zaagsma and Dave Nuckols will serve as delegates at the 2020 General Conference. They will also be delegates at the 2020 North Central Jurisdictional Conference, along with Rev. Woojae Im and Becky Boland. Alternate delegates for both conferences are Revs. Jeff Ozanne, Susan Mullin, Henry Dolopei, and Donna Dempewolf, along with lay people Walker Brault, Cindy Saufferer, Jessica Lanes, and Shirley Durr. At General Conference, delegates play a key role in making decisions that impact the future of The United Methodist Church, and at Jurisdictional Conference, delegates elect bishops. The 2020 General Conference will take place May 5-15 in Minneapolis, and the 2020 North Central Jurisdictional Conference will take place July 15-18 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Support for campus ministry: Members approved a resolution, brought by the Board of Directors of the University of Minnesota’s Wesley Foundation—a campus ministry—affirming that campus ministry is vital to the future of ministry in the Minnesota Conference. It includes a pledge to provide increased and sustaining support to United Methodist campus ministries in Minnesota. By March 1, 2020, the Minnesota Conference’s Higher Education Ministry Team will compile a report and recommendation to the conference that will, among other things, identify the goals and priorities of the campus ministries in Minnesota and their financial needs and a proposal for how the conference should support campus ministries in the future.
General Conference Petitions: On Wednesday and Thursday, members discussed three petitions and decided to send two of them on to the 2020 General Conference for consideration. The two that will be sent on are:
· Amending complaint procedures: This action, submitted by Rev. Gary Taylor of Alexandria UMC, will petition the 2020 General Conference to amend The Book of Discipline so that complaints can only be filed against clergy from within their own annual conferences. “Complaints filed against clergy in another Annual Conference do not promote healing and love, and in fact, further breaks an already fractured denomination,” the legislation stated.
· Allowing licensed local pastors to serve as General Conference delegates: This action, submitted by Rev. Wes Gabel of Grace UMC in Fergus Falls, petitions the 2020 General Conference to amend The Book of Discipline to allow licensed local pastors who have completed course of study or earned a master of divinity, and served for at least two years under appointment before their election, to serve as clergy delegates to General and Jurisdictional or Central Conferences. “Licensed local pastors who are eligible to vote for clergy delegates ought to be able to serve as clergy delegates,” the legislation stated.
Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church