UM Forward and UMC Next Gatherings

“For where two or three are gathered in my name,
I am there among them.”
– Matthew 18:20 NRSV

I ask for your prayers for those of us from the Greater NW Area who will attend two significant conversations on the future of The United Methodist Church in the aftermath of the 2019 Special Session of General Conference.

The first event, UM Forward, will take place in Minneapolis, Minnesota May 17-18. Organizers have designed the gathering to center voices too often marginalized including people of color, and persons from the LGBTQI+ community. As they prepare for this event, some persons from the GNW Area expressed these thoughts:

  • The spirit before us, our creator behind us, and Jesus alongside us we continue a march toward liberation. The justice of God will continue to set us free to be church we are meant to be! – Esteban Galan, lay, Boise ID
  • Our way forward must empower those who are most impacted by the harm the church and world have caused. Only then, can we be the church. – Joseph Lopez, lay, Seattle WA
  • Wherever the church ends up I am sure of one thing, if it does not fully embrace LGBTQIA+ people it will not stand. – Ryan Scott, clergy, Toledo OR
  • I’m hoping to make connections and learn from other people who are passionate about the future of our denomination and our movement towards full inclusion. – Emily Wright, lay, Seattle WA

A second event, UMC Next, is being held at the Church of the Resurrection near Kansas City on May 20-22. This gathering will bring together over 600 United Methodists with groups of 10 from each Annual Conference in the United States. Of this event, some who will attend from our area have offered these hopes:

  • We must move beyond old prejudices and entrenched patterns and be as committed to the life and well-being of others as we are to ourselves and our own preferences. – Mary Huycke, clergy, Yakima WA
  • My hope is we name the reality—including what is at stake, what we lose in remaining/exiting—then tell the story that enlivens our movement. – Jeremy Smith, clergy from Oregon-Idaho Conference, Seattle WA
  • My hope for the UMC Next gathering is that progressives, centrists and conservative compatibilists would be able to find enough common ground on which to raise a new expression of Methodism, built on the foundation of faith, mission, grace, inclusion, equality, justice, and mercy. – Carlo Rapanut, clergy, Anchorage, AK
  • Business as usual is over; now we are given the opportunity to step into our call toward radical love. I hope we can be brave. – Nica Sy, lay, Seattle, WA
  • In this trying time, we need to follow Christ’s example and prove that Christians can show love to the world as well as to each other. – Teri Watanabe, lay, Monroe OR

As United Methodists striving to live faithfully and serve missionally in the Greater Northwest, we are a diverse group of lay and clergy who expect to listen and speak from our context. And we expect the Holy Spirit to be among us as promised. Please keep us, and all who gather, in prayer during this time.

We’ll do our best to bring you into the conversation after we return.

Elaine JW Stanovsky | Resident Bishop, Greater Northwest Area

Click here for a list of persons attending from the GNW Area. Let us know if we have missed anyone!

Comments (6)

  • Just posted this on another Methodist FB page.Over my lunch hour. One of the traditionalist leader made this statement “The Traditional Plan is not going away. In fact, unless a way for amicable separation is devised in the next few months, traditionalists are likely to have the time and the votes in Minneapolis to close even more loopholes and strengthen accountability to our covenant”

    I usually find myself in disagreement with the traditionalist leaders in the church. This particular statement is a hard core reality to swallow. You cannot ignore the facts.There is NO workable majority at General Conference to remove the Traditional Plan or the statements in regards to sexuality in the BOD. If anything the traditionalists will have the votes to tighten the noose at the 2020 GC in Minneapolis. I think there is time amicable separation. The divisions in the United Methodist church are ‘irreconcilable.’ Please lets stop the hurting.

  • Go with God. Go with love. Welcome the strength and support of the Holy Spirit. Let Christ show us all the Way.
    I send my prayers to all-

  • Dr. Greg A. Grove

    As Christians, we are elected to receive God’s best always. Has anyone thought of surrendering ego and strategem for an infilling of divine guidance? We are dead to the law of sin and alive to the law of Spirit.

  • Honestly I am concerned that we are having all these area meetings – that the end result will be 5 or 6 united methodist denominations formed – instead of working together on anything. I don’t feel we need to work together with the traditionalists — but I am not sure we would benefit from all these different groups

  • I continue to pray for the United Methodist Church world wide–it’s clergy and all members and non-members. My prayers continue.

  • Mardel and Roger Tanquist

    We are so grateful for the loving concern for all people expressed so eloquently. Mardel and Roger Tanquist.

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