Resources for Moving Forward


During this season of change within The United Methodist Church, we encourage every Minnesota congregation to spend time exploring who we are as the Minnesota Annual Conference and how we understand our vision for full inclusion within that broader identity.

Here are some helpful resources to help you and your congregation do that in the time leading up to the postponed General Conference 2020. Learn about the postponement.


General Conference

• General Conference web page: This official web page contains information about the 2020 legislation, schedule, registration, and denominational news.  View web page

Key legislation: Here’s a chart summarizing and comparing each of the key proposals about the structure of the UMC.  View chart

 • Advance Daily Christian Advocate (ADCA): This resource contains the agenda, rules, delegate listings, petitions, reports from the general agencies/commissions and study committees, information for delegates, and codes of conduct for the 2020 General Conference.  View ADCA

Hosting: The Dakotas-Minnesota Area will host General Conference 2020 in Minneapolis. A website welcomes visitors and helps them navigate the city.  View host website

Volunteering: The Dakotas-Minnesota Host Team is seeking volunteers of all ages, interests, and abilities to extend hospitality to siblings in Christ at General Conference 2020.  Learn more

General Conference primer: A guide for anyone wanting to understand what this denominational gathering is all about, it includes everything from what General Conference is to who attends to how it’s conducted.  View primer

General Conference 2019: The Minnesota Conference’s coverage of General Conference 2019 gives the Minnesota delegates’, bishop’s, and attendees’ perspectives on what took place in St. Louis.  Access all articles, photos, and videos 


Respectful conversations

Minnesota Council of Churches Respectful Conversations: These structured, facilitated conversations are designed not to change minds but to soften hearts. Since 2012, more than 3,000 Minnesotans have participated in more than 100 conversations through this process, and 70 percent have reported feeling a stronger sense of empathy for those with a different viewpoint. The cost ranges from $800 to $2,500.  Learn more and host a conversation

Courageous Conversations: UMC Discipleship Ministries offers a framework for a congregational discussion around human sexuality.  View framework

Living Room Conversations: This non-profit aims to provide a conversational bridge across issues that divide and separate us by providing an easy structure for friendly yet meaningful dialogue. The website offers a conversation guide specifically for the UMC debate about human sexuality.  View guide

Golden Rule 2020: Golden Rule 2020, a program of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, calls for dignity and respect in theology and politics and offers resources for congregations to practice them.  Visit website


Minnesota Conference aspirational vision

• Vision as adopted: In 2019, the Minnesota Conference voted to adopt a vision that envisions a Methodism rooted in Jesus, grounded in Wesleyan theology, inclusive of all persons, and engaged in the work of justice and reconciliation.  Access vision

Introductory study guide: Using a Lectio Divina Bible study, this tool is designed to help congregations become familiar with the vision and explore how it resonates and how they can live into it.  Access study guide

Congregational exercise: This activity is designed to help a congregation take a deep dive into each of the four components of the vision and identify steps they can take to fully embody each one.  Access exercise

Living Into Our Inclusive Vision” video: Revs. Carol Zaagsma and Cindy Gregorson answer some questions about the aspirational vision and talk about how we might live into it as an annual conference.  Access video

Making the Vision Plain: Minnesota Methodists, a group that's working for the full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in the life of the church, developed this set of videos and corresponding personal and group exercises. Any congregation can use them to explore how to more fully live into the aspirational vision.  Access participant packet / Access videos


Human sexuality and inclusion

Do No Harm Toolkit: Minnesota Methodists, a group that's working for the full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in the life of the church, developed this resource; it contains helpful definitions and terms, as well as recommended ways to engage in conversation around human sexuality.  Access toolkit

 LGBTQ and you: Introductory glossary of terms and usage: Rev. Ann Lock, an elder in the Pacific Northwest Conference, defines and explains terms related to five aspects of human sexuality: sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and sexual behavior.  Read article

Building an Inclusive Church Toolkit: This comprehensive guide, developed by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Institute for Welcoming Resources, is designed to help congregations openly welcome people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.  Access toolkit

Collaboration guide for centering marginalized voices: Rev. Tyler Sit, with input from Rev. Dana Neuhauser, put together a resource that offers some excellent suggestions for partnering with those in the LGBTQAI+ community.  Access guide


Books

“Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today” by Adam Hamilton, chapters 27-32: Hamilton talks about three different “buckets” into which scriptures fall and explains why he believes homosexuality is compatible with Christian teaching.  View book

“Holy Love: A Biblical Theology for Human Sexuality” by Steve Harper: This book explores the teachings of the Bible and Wesleyan tradition on human sexuality and how they can be interpreted.  View book

• “All Are Welcome: Toward a Multi-Everything Church” edited by Leon Brown: This book explores why ethnic and cultural diversity is increasing in our cities but isn’t reflected in our churches. Each contributor is an ethnic minority and provides ideas and answers for how to create a more welcoming environment in our congregations.  View book


Small group studies

• “Faithful and Inclusive: The Bible, Sexuality, and The United Methodist Church” by Rob Fuquay: This six-session small group study invites participants to develop their own perspectives on the Bible’s passages related to homosexuality, and explores how United Methodists can be both obedient to God’s word and fully welcoming to LGBTQ persons.  Access study

“Unity of the Church and Human Sexuality” by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry: Suitable for a four-week study, this resource addresses how the church be a witness and provide for a diversified human community. It gives United Methodists an opportunity to think about what has become a cultural and ecclesial flashpoint—human sexuality—and comes out of the conviction that the church is thirsty for theological conversation. Access study

• “Our Purpose is Love: The Wesleyan Way to be the Church” by David Field: This eight-week, small-group study, which focuses on the importance of unity for the Church’s witness, examines John Wesley’s understanding of God’s love and challenges us to exemplify that love in our churches and in our world.  Access book / Access leader guide

• “Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and The United Methodist Church” by Abingdon Press: This four-week study will help you understand the shape of the debate about human sexuality. Each chapter includes background on the Bible, Christian theology, history, stories from diverse viewpoints, and United Methodist structure and practice to guide reflection and conversation. View study


Related Minnesota Conference articles (newest on top)

• New strategy team to help Minnesota Conference move forward: Its desired outcome is to remain a Minnesota Conference in the continuing United Methodist Church and bring as many people and congregations as possible.  Read article

• Bishop Ough reflects on separation proposal: Bishop Ough talks about the “Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation,” which aims to address The UMC’s longtime impasse over human sexuality.  Access video and article

• Diverse group offers separation plan, Ough and Nuckols reflect: The plan would preserve The United Methodist Church and allow traditionalist congregations to form a new denomination, get $25 million, and keep properties.  Read article

 NCJ delegates meet, repent of harm to LGBTQIA+ people: They called for a moratorium on complaints, charges, and trials related to same-sex marriages and LGBTQIA+ credentialing and greater freedom for ministry.  Read article

• Leading the church in a liminal time, living into our inclusive vision: About 50 clergy and lay leaders gathered to explore how to lead the church in a divergent culture at a liminal time, and how to live into our inclusive vision.  Read article

• Minnesotans leave Leadership Institute with hope, resolve: Sixty-two Minnesotans attended the event, which served as a forum for discussion and strategizing about the future of The United Methodist Church.  Read article

• Conference adopts vision naming commitment to LGBTQIA+ inclusion: Annual Conference members voted 491-86 to adopt the vision and 446-108 to adopt a statement against the General Conference-approved Traditional Plan.  Read article

• 10 from MN join conversation about church’s future at UMCNext: Five of the participants reflect on the three-day national gathering and what's next in their effort to build a more inclusive church.  Read article

• 60+ Minnesotans participate in Our Movement Forward, work to shape church’s future: The summit brought more than 300 attendees to Minneapolis to collaborate on a vision of the church that centers people of color and queer and trans individuals.  Read article


Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

info@minnesotaumc.org

(612) 870-0058