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
churchwe 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
worldhave 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
as usualis 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