This page serves as a portal for information about the 2019 Great Plains Annual Conference from May 29 to June 1 at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, Kansas.
The theme for Annual Conference 2019 is, "Therefore Go: Serve Others."
All plenary times will be livestreamed on the conference website at www.greatplainsumc.org/livestream. A link is provided via the button below. A special link is provided below for the memorial service May 30, hosted by Topeka First United Methodist Church.
Some clergy and laity asked to have vote totals posted at the conclusion of Tuesday's plenary sessions. Below are links to the first and second ballots for the clergy and laity. Please note that these documents were formatted based on what was provided by our voting-device partner, so names may not necessarily be in alphabetical order. Take note of each person's identification number for future use in the voting process. And only top vote-getters are listed after the first ballot.
Here are the final ballots for jurisdictional conference delegation positions from Friday's elections. Clergy and Laity each elected three people to the South Central Jurisdictional Conference. Four more each are needed, along with three more alternates each. Voting will resume Saturday morning.
Resolution 1 — Bylaws were amended to allow for the Kansas Area United Methodist Foundation to work with not just United Methodist-affiliated organizations and churches but also other organizations should they choose to disaffiliate from the denomination.
Resolutions 2-10 — Church closures for Kilgore, Trinity Community, Valley View, Chetopa-St. Paul, Ada, Delphos, Portis, Robinson and Hicks Chapel United Methodist Churches.
Resolution 11 — A proposal to allow clergy with six years of full-time appointment, or equivalent for less-than-full-time clergy, to be allowed up to three months of leave “for personal reflection and self-renewal,” funded by the local church or charge passed. The resolution was sent to the Council of Finance and Administration to determine its cost. After further discussion the Saturday of the conference, the topic has been referred to the Connecting Council to discuss possible ways to implement such a program. Under provisions in the resolution, the conference would pay the salary for the interim pastor.
Resolution 12 — A resolution to allow churches with the ability to conduct their own training similar to the Safe Gatherings program to ensure safety of children and at-risk adults was referred to the Connecting Council for review. Concerns about lack of uniformity for the purposes of liability insurance were shared prior to the vote to refer.
Resolution 13 — The conference health insurance allowance was approved to continue at $15,850 per year, with which clergy are expected to purchase at least a bronze-level coverage plan. The plan was amended to allow full- and three-quarter-time pastors appointed to larger local churches that provide a health insurance plan to receive the equivalent financial support as the conference’s health allowance to purchase health insurance. A resolution that would have allowed churches only to pay the actual cost of health insurance instead of the amount required by the conference was defeated.
Resolution 14 — The Creation Care team offered a resolution, which passed on a show of hands, asking the conference secretary to send a message to state and national representatives urging them to support policies that promote renewable energy, reducing emissions and providing "adaptation assistance for those struggling to survive in a changing climate." It also asks the conference Creation Care Team to work with the Great Plains Disaster Response Ministries to incorporate climate change mitigation into their responsibilities so that the church can become more proactive as well as reactive to increasing catastrophic climate events. It also urges Great Plains Conference churches to reduce their carbon footprints through specific measurable actions such as becoming a Creation Care Church and becoming involved and take actions promoted by United Methodist Women in their Be Green program, among other tactics.
Resolution 15 — In response to climate change, this resolution, which was referred to the Connecting Council to assess recommendations for implementation in time for next year's annual conference session, would require churches to calculate their carbon footprints and set goals for reducing it over a three-year period. Churches would be expected to report progress each year and to offer educational materials to parishioners. An amendment was added to add conference properties such as parsonages and offices to the same kinds of evaluations and reporting mechanisms.
Resolution 16 — In response to the General Conference adoption of the Traditional Plan, members to annual conference voted 607-396 to affirm this resolution, which states: "The Great Plains Annual Conference (GPAC) condemns the decision of the 2019 General Conference to pass the Traditional Plan and apologizes for the harm that it has caused LGBTQ+ persons, their families, their friends, and the body of Christ. 'We affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God,' but we also assert and affirm that no human being is incompatible with Christian teaching."
Resolution 17 — The resolution, submitted by the Rev. Christine Potter of Topeka Countryside UMC, would make $20,000 in grant funding available to local congregations for ministries that raise up LGBTQIA+ persons as missional leaders in the conference. It passed by a 548-385 vote.
UMC Next — This resolution, introduced from the floor, passed 586-396 and affirms the commitments set out at a meeting May 20-22 at UM Church of the Resurrection: "We long to be passionate followers of Jesus Christ, committed to a Wesleyan vision of Christianity, anchored in scripture and informed by tradition, experience and reason as we live a life of personal piety and social holiness. We commit to resist evil, injustice and oppression in all forms and toward all people and build a church which affirms the full participation of all nations, races, classes, cultures, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities. We reject the Traditional Plan approved at General Conference as inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ and will resist its implementation. We will work to eliminate discriminatory language and the restrictions and penalties in the Discipline regarding LGBTQ persons. We affirm the sacred worth of LGBTQ persons, celebrate their gifts, and commit to being in ministry together." It further encourages local churches to have an open dialogue about the 2019 General Conference actions.
Annual Conference planning — In a resolution passed by a show of hands, this legislation urges the bishop to rework future annual conference agendas so legislation is discussed during the first plenary session after the episcopal and laity addresses.
Science of Human Sexuality Study Guide — This petition passed with a show of hands urging the General Board of Church and Society to assemble a study guide on the science behind human sexuality and to offer the guide to local churches as a means of providing information to parishioners. This is similar to studies on reproductive health previously provided by GBCS.