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General Conference
Bishop Jones issues statement about General Conference, Rev. Cynthia Meyer case

Bishop Jones issues statement about General Conference, Rev. Cynthia Meyer case

5/24/2016
Bishop Scott J. Jones of the Great Plains Conference issued the following letter today to pastors across Kansas and Nebraska as well as to lay members to annual conference.  The letter is printed here in its entirety. Or download the letter.

Council of Bishops follows tradition with letter to the church

Council of Bishops follows tradition with letter to the church

5/24/2016
Reviving a tradition that is more than a century old, the United Methodist Council of Bishops sent this letter Monday to the people of The United Methodist Church following the 2016 General Conference, conducted May 10-20 in Portland, Oregon. The letter reads as follows: Great Plains Bishop Scott Jones sings a hymn with other bishops after they entered the hall to start the 2016 General Conference opening worship time in Portland,  Oregon. Photo by Todd Seifert   To the people of The ...

GC2016 wrap-up: Farewell, Portland. Thanks for the doughnuts.

GC2016 wrap-up: Farewell, Portland. Thanks for the doughnuts.

5/21/2016
Believe it or not, General Conference 2016 spent more than twice as much time debating a Rule of Order than the hot topic of human sexuality. After almost three days of considering an alternative method for discussing legislation, The United Methodist Church’s top legislative body referred its most difficult subject — sexuality — to a study commission and moved on to other matters. Delegates pause for a moment of prayer following the morning discussion and expressions of confusion in the May ...

May 20 wrap-up: Budget passes, with increase

May 20 wrap-up: Budget passes, with increase

5/20/2016
As delegates prepared for the last day of General Conference 2016, the words of the immortal sage Jerry Reed may have run through their minds: We’ve got a long way to go, and a short time to get there. Voting clocks shrank from 30 seconds to 10 and more than one presiding bishop urged delegates to speak less and vote more. Delegates rolled up their sleeves and plunged into a daunting collection of remaining petitions before the closing gavel fell.  Budget passes with slight increase General ...

May 19 wrap-up: Conference takes up key legislation on penultimate day

May 19 wrap-up: Conference takes up key legislation on penultimate day

5/19/2016
A day after tabling potentially contentious legislation on human sexuality, General Conference 2016 moved through its calendar at a steady clip, possibly noticing that time to finish its task is running short. Though discussion on the difficult subject was avoided, that other difficult subject — money — had to be addressed. Would the “way forward” set the church financially backward? The Cherokee Choir from the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference sings during morning worship at the 2016 ...

Female pastors celebrate; say struggles continue

Female pastors celebrate; say struggles continue

5/19/2016
UMC Women in Clergy from Great Plains UMC on Vimeo. As the 60th anniversary of women receiving full clergy rites in The United Methodist Church was celebrated Thursday during the General Conference, female clergy delegates in the Great Plains Conference say there is still a long way to go to achieve full equality with their male counterparts. “It’s exciting to think about the perspectives that women bring into the ministry, the voice they bring into the ministry,” said the Rev. Rebecca ...

Translators share the power of words

Translators share the power of words

5/19/2016
English-speaking delegates had the opportunity to experience what hundreds of non-English-speaking colleagues go through regularly when Bishop Patrick Streiff of the Central and Southern Europe Central Conference presided over the afternoon plenary session in French on May 17 in French. Though not his native language, he chose to do so because French is one of the languages translated during General Conference. The Rev. Dr. Anne Gatobu translates a worship service from English to Swahili during...

May 18 wrap-up: Sexuality dominates debate in unexpected ways

May 18 wrap-up: Sexuality dominates debate in unexpected ways

5/18/2016
Last week it was debating how to debate. Today, it was voting on whether to vote. A day of tension, frustration and confusion ended in a decision to “put a pin in it.” Delegates to General Conference 2016 spent most of the day deciding whether to move forward on dozens of petitions regarding the denomination’s stance on human sexuality, or whether to refer that difficult subject to a special commission to be appointed by the Council of Bishops. They referred. Now the newly created body will ...

Motion to accept bishops' plan resurrected, passes

Motion to accept bishops' plan resurrected, passes

5/18/2016
Adam Hamilton reacts to human sexuality motion introduced to deal with LGBT issues in UMC General Conference 2016. from Great Plains UMC on Vimeo. After hours of deliberation, two failed motions and an accusation from the floor of a bishop directing people which way to vote, the General Conference voted to accept and enact a plan for unity presented by the Council of Bishops. The motion to accept the bishops’ proposal eventually passed 425-408. It proclaims the intent of the bishops to ...

Bishop Ough shares Council of Bishops proposal for unity

Bishop Ough shares Council of Bishops proposal for unity

5/18/2016
The following is a statement read during the morning plenary session May 18 in Portland, Oregon: Galatians 3:25-29 (NRSV) 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 ...

Church hopes to build on Imagine No Malaria program success

Church hopes to build on Imagine No Malaria program success

5/18/2016
NO MALARIA-EMILY BALLARD from Great Plains UMC on Vimeo. Seeking to build on the success of its global health initiative “Imagine No Malaria,” The United Methodist Church this week affirmed its commitment to positively impact the lives of children everywhere through the next phase of its global health work. Coordinated by the denomination’s General Board of Global Ministries, “Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children” aims to reach 1 million children with lifesaving interventions by 2020. ...

May 17 wrap-up: Schism rumors quashed

May 17 wrap-up: Schism rumors quashed

5/17/2016
General Conference 2016 may have started off slowly, but it’s full steam ahead now. On a day with a full docket, delegates considered whether to give $20 million to a group of church growth consultants, whether to eliminate lifetime tenures for U.S. bishops and whether it’s time to create a new hymnal. All that while the Council of Bishops president said the bishops are committed to church unity. Opening worship In his May 17 sermon on Matthew 18:10-14, Bishop Ivan M. Abrahams, top executive of...

Great Plains delegates help take lead on debate

Great Plains delegates help take lead on debate

5/17/2016
Mark Holland on Bishops leadership from Great Plains UMC on Vimeo. Members of the Great Plains Conference delegation played a major role in encouraging bishops to take on a larger leadership role in the debate on LGBTQ issues that have so far stymied the 2016 General Conference. A motion made by the Rev. Mark Holland, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church and a clergy delegate from Kansas City, Kansas, urged the Council of Bishops on Tuesday to make an unbinding recommendation to the ...

May 16 wrap-up: Week two begins with elections, celebrations, protests

May 16 wrap-up: Week two begins with elections, celebrations, protests

5/16/2016
Before tackling the pile of petitions before them, delegates to General Conference 2016 voted to fill vacancies in key positions on the Judicial Council, the University Senate and the Commission on General Conference. And then, voting officially began. Opening worship “God is the host for our “banquet,” be it General Conference or God’s “kingdom on earth,” Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey said in her sermon on May 16 at General Conference, the denomination’s top legislative body. The Louisiana ...

Church sets goals for next four years

Church sets goals for next four years

5/16/2016
The United Methodist Church has set bold goals to increase the number of disciples, address poverty, improve Bishop Grant Hagiya of the Pacific Northwest Episcopal Area talks during a press conference May 16 about four goals set for The United Methodist Church. Photo by Todd Seifert the health of children and improve leadership by the time of the next General Conference in 2020. Bishop Grant Hagiya of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area led a presentation that laid out the goals for the ...

UMW celebrates 150 years of advocacy

UMW celebrates 150 years of advocacy

5/16/2016
The United Methodist Women took a moment to celebrate its past during the General Conference on Monday afternoon, while brimming with excitement about the group’s future. A seven-minute presentation featured the history of the UMW, which began 150 years ago as an outreach to women and children in India.   Members of The United Methodist Women celebrated the 150th anniversary for the  organization during a special presentation at General Conference on May 16. Photo by Todd Seifert The UMW ...

General Conference - May 14 recap

General Conference - May 14 recap

5/15/2016
Worship, an address by young people and a silent protest for LGBTQ inclusion began Day Five of General Conference 2016, which ended with final legislative committee meetings. Young people’s address inspires While only two young people spoke on the General Conference stage Saturday morning, thousands more stood with them. Chelsea Spyres of Detroit and Peter Cibuabua of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, began their witness by identifying themselves as “ambassadors sharing young people’s ...

Dotson wearing many hats at General Conference

Dotson wearing many hats at General Conference

5/14/2016
Forgive the Rev. Junius Dotson if he needs a few moments to collect his thoughts during a discussion – particularly during the hustle and bustle of General Conference. The Rev. Junius Dotson of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas, takes part in a legislative committee meeting May 14 during General Conference in Portland,  Oregon. Dotson will become general secretary of Discipleship Ministries in July.  Photo by Rachel Moser It’s not because he’s slow to ponder a response. ...

May 13 wrap-up: Laity address, State of the Church Report

May 13 wrap-up: Laity address, State of the Church Report

5/13/2016
After several days where General Conference delegates were clearly divided over Robert’s Rules vs. Group Discernment and placards vs. iPads, on Day Four, they were urged repeatedly to work together, and shown examples of the good the church can do when it heeds that advice. Laity address Morning worship by delegates Ande Emmanuel, Eunice Iliya, Joyce Madanga and Habila Bala, delegates from Southern Nigeria Conference, react to the morning worship music at the 2016 United Methodist General ...

Laity challenged to get more involved in ministry

Laity challenged to get more involved in ministry

5/13/2016
Lay members of The United Methodist Church admonished their peers who are delegates to General Conference to remember that they share in the responsibility of making disciples of Jesus Christ in the world. The Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede leads a time of prayer May 13 for Courtney Fowler with some of the  Great Plains Conference delegation and staff prior to Fowler taking part in the laity address from the floor of the General Conference in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Rachel Moser The May 13 ...

Dakotas-Minnesota bishop is new president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church

Dakotas-Minnesota bishop is new president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church

5/12/2016
Bishop Bruce Ough, bishop of the Dakotas-Minnesota Area of The United Methodist Church, today became president of the Council of Bishops of the 12.3 million member global United Methodist Church. Bishop Bruce R. Ough (left) receives the gavel as incoming president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops from outgoing president Warner H. Brown, Jr. during the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS Bishop Ough assumed the presidency of the Council from ...

General Conference May 12 recap

General Conference May 12 recap

5/12/2016
After a roller coaster of “will-they-or-won’t-they” episodes usually reserved for love interests in a romantic comedy, delegates finally decided their relationship with Rule 44: They won’t. The final tally on the much-debated Rule 44 — a proposed Group Discernment Process — was 355 yes and 477 no. However, even getting to a simple up-or-down vote took the delegates most of their morning.?Over the past three days, the United Methodist General Conference also has offered a live demonstration of ...

Great Plains pastor tells poignant story while speaking for Rule 44

Great Plains pastor tells poignant story while speaking for Rule 44

5/12/2016
The Rev. Mark R. Holland of Trinity Community Church in Kansas City, Kansas, supported the use of what has become known as “Rule 44” during General Conference of The United Methodist Church because, he said, he has seen how small-group discussions can help foster understanding. The Rev. Mark Holland (left) shows a photo of his daughter, Esther, to Honorine Mwad  Mujing, who raised his daughter from 2 days old until adoption, and the Rev. Mande Muyobo, who led the mission trip to Congo during ...

May 11 wrap-up: Episcopal address, more Rule 44 debate

May 11 wrap-up: Episcopal address, more Rule 44 debate

5/11/2016
A day after the celebratory tone of opening worship came a reminder that General Conference is one big, long meeting. As delegates got down to business, debate over one of the Rules of Order will stretch into a third day while the episcopal address urged United Methodists to “trust God and go.” In the episcopal address on May 11, Bishop Gregory V. Palmer laid out a path for the 2016 United Methodist General Conference: humility, humility, humility. Members of Signatur, a choir from Norway, ...

'Rule 44' decision postponed again

'Rule 44' decision postponed again

5/11/2016
Just one day after postponing a contentious rules change for The United Methodist Church's General Conference, the matter was delayed yet again so amendments could be considered by the Rules Committee. Debate on Rule 44, which would move proposals related to human sexuality into discussion groups comprised of small groups in hopes of building consensus, initially was tabled by a mere eight votes. A motion by a delegate from Europe led to a second vote, which this time had Rule 44 pulled back ...

Episcopal address challenges all to go forth

Episcopal address challenges all to go forth

5/11/2016
Bishop Gregory V. Palmer laid out a path for the 2016 United Methodist General Conference: humility, humility, humility. “Everyone here is a child of God. Any behavior to the contrary of that truth undermines the gospel and is a choice to live beneath our privilege,” Palmer, who serves the West Ohio Episcopal Area, said in the episcopal address on May 11. Bishop Gregory V. Palmer delivers the episcopal address during the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Oregon. Photo by ...

General Conference opens with message about unity of purpose

General Conference opens with message about unity of purpose

5/10/2016
The 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church opened Tuesday afternoon, May 10, with a message from Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr. for unity during what could be heated debates over contentious issues such as human sexuality. Bishop Scott Jones (center) helps serve communion during opening worship from the General Conference of The United Methodist Church on May 10 in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Todd Seifert. As part of his sermon, Brown, the outgoing president of the Council of ...

General Conference Videos - Updated May 20

General Conference Videos - Updated May 20

5/10/2016
Throughout the 2016 General Conference, check here for videos from the meetings taking place in Portland, Oregon. The Great Plains Conference communications staff will be working with delegates to provide insights into the happenings there and stories about what goes on outside the plenary sessions. May 20 General Conference 2016 has been an emotional roller coaster Frustration tempered with the world's need for The United Methodist Church Some areas of ministry have emerged from 2016 ...

Photos from General Conference

Photos from General Conference

5/10/2016
Check here each day for photos of Great Plains Conference delegates and Bishop Scott Jones as they take part in the 2016 General Conference of The United Methodist Church. See what our delegates are doing and see some of the behind-the-scenes images from the events in Portland, Oregon.