Saturday, June 1, 2019

Welcome to the third and final daily report from the Great Plains Annual Conference sessions in Topeka!

We'll provide a recap of the final day's activities.

Keep up to date with our Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as photos in our Flickr gallery.

Great Plains Conference locks
in its delegates for 2020 conference

The Great Plains Annual Conference concluded its selection of delegates for the 2020 General and Jurisdictional conferences on Saturday morning.
Representing the Great Plains clergy from May 5-15 in Minneapolis will be:

  • Rev. Adam Hamilton
  • Rev. Amy Lippoldt
  • Rev. Junius Dotson
  • Rev. Kalaba Chali
  • Rev. Dee Williamston
  • Rev. David Livingston
  • Rev. Cheryl Jefferson Bell

 Laity chosen to represent the conference are:

  • Oliver Green  
  • Lisa Maupin  
  • Scott Brewer  
  • Randall Hodgkinson  
  • Steve Baccus  
  • Dixie Brewster
  • Lisa Buffum

The clergy representing the Great Plains at the South Central Jurisdictional Conference, July 15-18 in Houston, will be:

  • Rev. Dr. Anne Gatobu
  • Rev. Mark Holland
  • Rev. Eduardo Bousson
  • Rev. Ashley Prescott Barlow-Thompson
  • Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede
  • Rev. Zach Anderson
  • Rev. Andrew Conard

The laity representing the conference will be:

  • Abigail Koech
  • Dan Entwistle  
  • Jesi Lipp  
  • Shayla Jordan  
  • Ally Drummond  
  • Esther Hay  
  • Joyce Jones  

Clergy alternates are the Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford, the Rev. Kurt Cooper and the Rev. Nathan Stanton.

Lay alternates are Roy Koech, Abraham Ruffcorn and Charles File.

Energy, carbon footprint, human
sexuality resolutions part of final day

Five resolutions and one petition were discussed and voted upon during the Saturday morning sessions:

  • 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. 

Petition 1

  • 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.

Conference budget approved

With little discussion, the conference approved a proposed 2020 budget of $15,330,047.

Ordination offering amount

The offering at Friday night's ordination service raised $5,166.74 for the Crounse Fund, which provides grants for Great Plains Conference clergy and their families in case of emergencies and hardship assistance.

Therefore GO! 5K draws 106 runners,
raising money for GP disaster relief

One-hundred-and-six people started their Saturday with the second annual Therefore GO! 5K, sponsored by the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund.

Although the fun run was not a competition, Rev. Joshua Clough from Church of the Resurrection was the first across the finish line, followed by Rev. Jason Kennedy of Lincoln Horizons Community UMC, and the Rev. Andrew Conard of Berryton UMC.

The first female to cross the line was the Rev. Mandy Barkhaus, Omaha St. Andrew's, and the first youth was 8-year-old Derek Petz, running in his first race.

Money raised from entry fees goes to Great Plains Disaster Response.

Same time next year

The Kansas Expocentre in Topeka will be the home of the 2020 Great Plains Annual Conference sessions, from May 27-30. 

The 2021 Annual Conference will be in Grand Island, Nebraska.


At Friday's ordination service, Sang Hak Lee received recognition as a transferring elder from the Korean Methodist Church. He was incorrectly identified in yesterday's article.

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Conference Office
1207 SW Executive Dr.
PO Box 4187
Topeka, KS 66604