AC 2016 Daily

Recap from June 4, 2016

Welcome to Topeka, Kansas, and the 2016 Great Plains United Methodist 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 2016, along with announcements and featured stories.

Watch the live streaming of the session at 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 2016. Don't forget to use hashtag #GPUMC and #GPAC16. Have a great week.


Great Plains Conference approves legislation involving Rev. Meyer case

 An “aspirational resolution” asking that the decision about the future of an openly gay United Methodist pastor in Kansas be left to the Great Plains Conference bishop was approved Saturday morning during the annual conference session.

The Rev. Russell Brown, pastor of Heritage UMC in Overland Park, Kansas, introduced the motion. Brown said the motion was not an attempt to rewrite the Book of Discipline, was not an attack on the bishop, was not a directive to Bishop Scott J. Jones nor a committee and was not binding by the bishop nor committee.

“It is an aspirational resolution,” Brown said. “If I had to give it a nickname, it would be the ‘Please pump the brakes’ resolution.”
The resolution asks that the counsel for the Church and the counsel for Rev. Meyer invoke Book of Discipline paragraph 2706.5c3. That paragraph allows for such a matter as the Meyer case to be referred to the resident bishop “as deemed appropriate for a process seeking a just resolution.”

The bishop could seek assistance from impartial third-party facilitators or mediators under such circumstances.

Brown said a window was made available after a letter from the Council of Bishops during the recently completed General Conference encouraged ways to avoid complaints, trials and any harm.
“Let’s walk through that window,” Brown said. “It’s seeking to speak as a unified voice for the Great Plains Annual Conference.”

On Jan. 3, the Rev. Cynthia Meyer told her congregation at Edgerton United Methodist Church in Kansas that she was in a committed relationship with another woman. Bishop Jones referred the complaint against Jones to a counsel for the church, pending any changes in the Book of Discipline reached at General Conference.

Jones has not publicly expressed an opinion regarding the Meyer case.

“I have, ever since the complaint was filed, done everything I can to bring a just resolution to this case,” Jones told the annual conference session. “This (resolution) isn’t much of a change – it’s been going on all along.”

An array of opinions filled the floor, from a young adult who threatened to leave the denomination over LGBTQ issues to a laity delegate who accused the body of trying to “rewrite the Bible.”

The Rev. David Livingston, pastor of St. Paul’s UMC in Lenexa, Kansas, and an advocate of Meyer, said he was pleased with the results of the vote.

“It affirms the idea from the Council of Bishops that we can uphold the spirit with the space for grace and conversation,” he said.

Nebraskan to return to Great Plains as treasurer

The son of two longtime Nebraska United Methodist pastors is returning to the Great Plains to become the conference’s new treasurer and director of administrative services.

Scott Brewer was announced Saturday morning as the successor for Gary Beach, who is retiring from the position next year. After a transition period where both will work together, Brewer will fully move into the role on July 1, 2017.

For the past 1½ years, Brewer has been the associate general secretary of administration and operations for the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, based in Nashville, Tennessee. He held positions in the United Methodist General Council on Finance and Administration for the previous 12 years.

A Nebraska Wesleyan University graduate, Brewer is the son of retired pastors, the Rev. James S. and Carol Roettmer Brewer.

He is “absolutely thrilled” to return to the Great Plains.

“It’s an opportunity to serve in an Annual Conference that I deeply care about, close to people and territory that mean so much to me,” he said.

Conference Council on Youth Ministries responds to Friday's vote

Great Plains Annual Conference,

The Conference Council on Youth Ministries would like to thank everyone for your support of youth involvement within the Great Plains Conference. Yesterday, and throughout the week, we heard from many people who care deeply about the ministry of young people. We recognize the mutual desire to create leadership opportunities for
youth and young adults.

We are thankful for a legacy of youth involvement in each of the Great Plains Conference’s predecessor conferences. We will continue planning worship experiences, legislative training, and interactive group activities for the youth who attend Annual Conference. Furthermore, we invite all churches to consider electing youth to serve as their lay members and alternate lay members to Annual Conference. We also encourage youth to attend conference as observers and participants in the special activities planned for youth. We would also like to thank Great Plains Camps for creating a camp experience in conjunction with Annual Conference. This provides another chance for children and youth to connect and grow in their faith.

We are excited about the wonderful ministries that have been established in our first three years and look forward to our continued ministry together. We invite constructive input and conversation to improve and unite the children and youth of our conference. Your
Conference Council on Youth Ministries has been and will continue to be in discussion and prayer regarding the future of our youth ministries. We invite you to join us in seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

We encourage you to be a part of the conversation to help build excellent youth ministries in each of our churches, districts, and conference.

Great Plains Conference Council on Youth Ministries

Youth lead final conference worship

Youth of the Great Plains used colored yarn to illustrate how United Methodists can be bound together or turn apart during their leadership of the Saturday morning worship at the annual conference session.

“Our group was far more successful than any one individual would have been,” said Caleb Smith of Longford, Kansas.

“Each of us have gifts that are vital to the body as a whole,” added Erynn Dahlke of Kearney, Nebraska.

Music was provided by Vessel, a praise and worship band from United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.

Offerings raise more than $53,000

On both the Great Plains Annual Conference floor and in previous offerings in their individual churches, more than $53,000 was raised for various United Methodist projects.

The three missions highlighted last year at Annual Conference – the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, the Lydia Patterson Institute and Zimbabwe East Conference – each received a share of $15,793.84. Each received more than $55,000 during the Conference.
Other offerings raised during the Annual Conference:

  • Camp Comeca -- $15,912.87
  • Imagine No Malaria -- $6,656.24
  • Youth Service Fund -- $4,864.27

In addition, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, or UMCOR, raised funds and supplies totaling $9,861.62. Although the truck in front of the Kansas Expocentre was not filled, it was the largest amount raised by a conference in the country, according to Mercy & Justice officials. 

Editorial Policy: The content, news, events and announcement information distributed in GPconnect is not sponsored or endorsed by the Great Plains Methodist Conference unless specifically stated.

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