AC 2018 Daily
June 13, 2018
Welcome to Wichita, Kansas, and the 2018 Great Plains United Methodist Conference Session!
We hope you enjoy the city and its amenities, while taking in the grand worship, productive business and timely learning of this conference session.
Each day there will be a special edition of "GPconnect." You can expect to receive GPconnect Daily today through Saturday. Below you can find information on what attendees can expect during AC 2018, along with announcements and featured stories.
Watch the live streaming of the session at www.greatplainsumc.org/livestream and on our Facebook page. See the official schedule to help make your viewing plans. View photos on our AC Flickr album, as we will update it daily. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to view additional photos and stay current with everything AC 2018. Don't forget to use hashtag #GPUMC and #GPAC18. Have a great week.
Bishop details options on Way Forward plans
More than 800 clergy and laity in the Great Plains Conference learned about the United Methodists' options on stances regarding human sexuality Wednesday afternoon.
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. conducted a listening session that detailed the history of the United Methodists toward LGBTQ issues, as well as the three plans brought to the Council of Bishops by the Commission on a Way Forward.
"This is a season of conversation and discernment," Bishop Saenz said at the beginning of the two-hour session.
The session began with a reading by members of the Great Plains Forward in Unity process team, followed by a litany about respecting our neighbor, even if our opinion disagrees with him or her.
"We need to treat each other as people instead of objects," Bishop Saenz said.
In giving a history of the United Methodists' stance toward LGBTQ issues, Bishop Saenz pointed out the Rev. Mark Holland, senior pastor of Trinity UMC in Kansas City, Kansas, and the Rev. Adam Hamilton, founding pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, for their urging the Council of Bishops to take a stand during the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon.
"In large part, we are here today because of the leadership of our own delegates," Bishop Saenz said.
Although no members of the Commission on a Way Forward, the group presenting options to the Council of Bishops, were available to speak at the Great Plains Annual Conference session, Bishop Saenz said a video by commission member Tom Berlin from Virginia would be shown on Friday morning.
Bishop Saenz said a majority -- but not a super-majority -- of the Council of Bishops supported the One Church model, which would remove restrictive language from the Book of Discipline while allowing individual pastors and churches to support their beliefs.
"This is probably the simplest model to begin implementing," Bishop Saenz said. "We would still be the United Methodist Church. We would still be one church."
The two other plans are the Connectional Conference Model, which would dissolve conference boundaries for churches with like beliefs to align; and the Traditional Model, which would keep the language in the Book of Discipline with increased accountability.
Bishop Saenz asked those in the Great Plains Conference to follow the lead of the Council of Bishops, praying the Lord's Prayer and the 23rd Psalm daily from 2:23-2:26 p.m. Those coincide with the dates of a Special Session of the General Conference, Feb. 23-26 in St. Louis.
He also encouraged frank but respectful discussion of the LGBTQ issues with colleagues, friends and neighbors.
"All of us are very passionate about this issue," Bishop Saenz said. "Let's assume the best of each other rather than the worst."
The bishop also announced a listening tour in late summer and early fall, covering each of the 16 districts in the conference.
Laity and clergy in attendance said they felt more enlightened about the issue after Wednesday's session.
"I thought it was very interesting, very thought-provoking," said Nel Robison, laity from Bayard, Nebraska.
"I did't realize the bishops were not as unified as I thought they would be," said the Rev. Cat Love, pastor from Cairo, Nebraska.
The Powerpoint presentation by the bishop, including the details of each plan, will be available later in June on the conference website, www. greatplainsumc.org.
UMM distributes scholarships
Seminary students from the Great Plains received more than $9,000 in scholarships Wednesday night, thanks to the 29th annual United Methodist Men's 100 Club dinner and auction at First United Methodist Church, Wichita.
Winners of the 100 Club scholarships for $1,000 were Nick Kaufmann, St. Paul School of Theology; Marcee Binder, Iliff School of Theology; Shayla Jordan, Perkins School of Theology; Madeline Baugous, Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary; and Karissa Heckens, St. Paul.
Receiving $500 scholarships from the Fleming Family Foundation were Kaufmann, Binder and Baugous.
Kaufmann, Binder and Baugous received the $500 Dean, Jean and Randy Fleming Scholarship.
Heckens received the Nichole Spiegel-Wheeler Scholarship for $500. Jordan received the $500 Merv and Bev Schliefert Scholarship. Baugous received the Fleming-Humphrey-Goff Scholarship for $250, and Kaufmann received the $250 Joe Meehan 32nd Degree Master Mason Scholarship.
Jesus always with us, Alloway tells opening worshippers
Each of us has our individual roads to Emmaus, the Rev. Wayne Alloway told the opening worship service of the Great Plains Annual Conference on Wednesday night.
"Emmaus is the place where we go to reclaim our home when our whole world is falling apart," Alloway, pastor of Lincoln St. Mark's United Methodist Church said in his sermon. "Emmaus isn't just a place. It's a state of mind, it's a state of heart, it's a state of being."
Alloway's sermon was based on Luke 24:13-35.
Like the disciples on that road, we don't understand that Jesus is walking with us.
"Jesus was with the disciples even during their period of disbelief," Alloway said. "They just didn't recognize it."
Earlier in the service, Iris Eileen Cannon, daughter of Stephan and the Rev. Emily Cannon, was baptized by Bishop Saenz.
Music during the service came from the Wichita Aldersgate UMC children's choir and Wichita Pleasant Valley UMC choir.
The Rev. Kathy Williams led the remembrance service of those clergy and spouses who have passed away in the previous year.
Deceased clergy remembered at the service were the Rev. Charles Bullock Bennett, Donna Carpenter, the Rev. James Coder, the Rev. Gene Connely, the Rev. John Dale, the Rev. Susan Daniel-Brey, Edward Des Plas, the Rev. Bob Eades, the Rev. George Edgar, the Rev. Ralph Erts, the Rev. Alfred Donahue Hager Jr., the Rev. Hobart Hildyard, the Rev. Paul Irig, the Rev. Philip Kaye, the REv. Mary Alice Knewtson, the Rev. Donald Koehn, the Rev. Lowen Kruse, the Rev. Lawrence Kurth, Bill "Tuffy" Linde IV, the Rev. Clarence McConkey, Vicki Lynn McDaniel, the Rev. Karl Meisel, the Rev. Robert G. Miller, Ret. Lt. Col U.S. Army, the Rev. Bill P. Moore, the Rev. Richard Odgers, the Rev. Harold Peck, the Rev. Vernon Phellps, the Rev. Dr. Dallas Allen Polen Jr., the Rev. Gene Shoemaker, the Rev. Bob Stout, the Rev. Jim Uhlig, the Rev. Dr. Ewart Goodell Watts and Glenwood Yancey Jr.
Clergy spouses memorialized were Beth Barcelo, Lorene Carper, Ronald Colglazier, Marilyn Crenshaw, Sally Ann Enck, Christine Evans, Rita Geisler, Fern Heim, Edith Heisz, Phillip James, Betty Kelly-Towner, Ora Kirkendall, Luella Lowe, Lois Madondo, Trudi Michaux, Shirley Miller, Helen Murray, Virginia Near, John ReQua, Ruth Rose and Gail Trenhaile.