Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. released a letter this morning to all clergy and lay members to annual conference explaining the need for a special session of annual conference, which will be conducted online via Zoom on Sept. 10. This session will be in addition to the regularly scheduled session June 8-11 in La Vista, Nebraska.
Download a printable copy.
Sisters and Brothers of the Great Plains Conference,
Grace and peace to you in the name of our risen Savior, Jesus Christ.
I am writing today to ask you to hold the date of Sept. 10 on your calendars to take part in an online, one-day special session of the annual conference.
This single day of business will be focused on the disaffiliations of churches that have discerned to separate from The United Methodist Church. While this decision is lamentable, it is critical to our united mission of making disciples for the transformation of the world that we part not as adversaries but as partners in Christ’s mission.
Disaffiliating from the denomination is not a decision to be taken lightly, nor is it a matter that can be settled as quickly as some may desire. Logistical matters have to be worked out, legal documents have to be signed, and decisions by leaders in local churches must be affirmed.
All those steps simply can’t be completed by all parties for all churches that wish to disaffiliate in time for our planned annual conference session June 8-11 in La Vista, Nebraska. However, it is not my desire to make churches wait until the 2023 session of the annual conference to vote on the departures of these congregations.
So, I am calling a special session of the annual conference for the morning of Saturday, Sept. 10. The meeting will be conducted on Zoom to save money on travel, securing a venue large enough to host our annual conference members on short notice, and audio-visual equipment that such a venue requires. In many ways, this special session will operate like our 2021 online-only annual conference session did regarding reports, motions, and voting.
I anticipate the only agenda items will involve disaffiliations and the conference budget, which we likely will delay action on in June so we can make the best decisions possible for our 2023 operations with the impacts of pending disaffiliations in mind.
More details will be coming as we move through the summer as more information comes from the denomination level and as we continue to work with churches that feel called to exit The United Methodist Church. For now, please hold Sept. 10 on your calendars for this important one-day session.
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.
Great Plains Conference