Plan of Organization awaits final vote


By Lisa Diehl, Kansas communications director
More than 1,500 people from the Kansas West, Kansas East and Nebraska conferences will gather Aug. 22-24 at the Bicentennial Center in Salina for the Uniting Conference for the new Great Plains Conference.

The theme for the event is “Coming Home Again” because the first Kansas/Nebraska conference session was held in October 1856. With the theme, we recognize our roots run deep to give us a firm foundation from which our future will grow. Our roots as Kansas and Nebraska United Methodists provide the grounding for our vision of great churches, great leaders and great disciples.

“This Plan of Organization provides us with a starting point for the new Great Plains Conference. We know that this document will not be perfect,” said Bishop Scott Jones. “Each Great Plains annual-conference session will have an opportunity to perfect the document.”

Conference members will be asked to vote section by section on the Great Plains Plan of Organization. The draft plan will be posted by Aug. 10 at Changes in previously published content will be underlined or stricken through in the document, and new sections will be indicated. The PDF file will include line numbers, which will be used during the session to call attention to areas under consideration.

As amendments are proposed, they will be considered by the body and then voted upon by the members of each of the existing annual conferences. All three conferences must approve an amendment for it to be included in the final Plan of Organization.

Since the annual-conference sessions in May and June, the plan has grown by more than 100 pages that include the personnel policies for the new conference, articles of incorporation and by-laws for the conference and the organizations that will govern camps and campus ministry, and the Nominating Report.

In addition, a number of changes have been made throughout the document based upon feedback from members of the three conferences:

  • The purpose of the Vital Congregations Team has been altered to specifically include the Board of Laity among the purposes the team will fulfill.
  • The number of adults serving on the Conference Council on Youth Ministry has been increased to nine, and the requirement that they also be district youth coordinators was eliminated.
  • Clarifying language was added to the description of the board governing Great Plains United Methodist Campus Ministry Inc. The governing board will oversee United Methodist campus ministries and may provide grants to local churches, United Methodist colleges and universities or ecumenical campus ministries.
  • The make-up of the Archives and History Team has been changed to include four people from Nebraska and four people from Kansas in addition to the archivists.
  • Advance specials previously approved by any of the three former conferences will be carried forward into the new Great Plains Conference for 2014.
  • Existing sexual ethics policies will remain in effect for the areas where they were adopted through June 30, 2014.

To read the entire plan, go to

Conference members are encouraged to bring a printed or electronic copy of the plan with them to the session. Limited copies will be available on site for the cost of printing.

In addition to the business, conference members will engage in hands-on service in the Salina community at various locations.

The Great Plains Conference’s calling is to equip and connect congregations to make disciples of Jesus Christ. The vision for the Great Plains is captured in the phrase, “Great churches. Great leaders. Great disciples. Transformed world.”

“The afternoon of service is one way for us to model ways to transform the world around us, one community, one project, at a time,” said Rev. Evelyn Fisher, director of Congregational Excellence.

Late registration to attend to attend Uniting Conference with no meals is still available at

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