Posted on the Mountain Sky Conference website – October 24, 2018:
From the Cabinet and the delegates to General Conference 2019
We write in a time when our denomination and nation feel helplessly divided. In political, social, and religious arenas we’ve seen mounting problems, and when we’ve sought leadership we’ve only found division. In times such as these we need leaders to come together, engage in authentic, grace-filled, challenging dialogue and present a path forward.
It is against this backdrop that we, the Mountain Sky Cabinet and General Conference Delegation, write to express our support for the One Church Model, as presented by the Commission on a Way Forward. We believe that the One Church Model is a reasonable compromise that aligns with our Wesleyan heritage, allowing us to live in unity without requiring uniformity, and allows for the least disruptions of vital ministries throughout the Mountain Sky Conference.
We, the people of the Mountain Sky Conference, know the value of unity even in the midst of disagreement; we’ve lived into this model for many years. Go to any UMC from Trinidad, CO to Columbia Falls, MT, from Wheatland, WY, to St. George, UT and you’re likely to find people living in community despite disagreement about any number of divisive issues. Despite these disagreements, United Methodists have welcomed, supported, and loved each other as they have lived out a shared mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Our theological diversity has created increased empathy, conversation, and growth. It has helped us to live in community with each other thus making us better prepared to live in harmony with all of creation.
To be clear, the One Church Model is not perfect. The One Church Model does not completely live into the values of full inclusion for our LGBTQ sisters and brothers; instead, discriminatory practices are allowed to persist within the United Methodist Church. Although we support the One Church Model, we also reaffirm our continued commitment to further the cause of equity and justice for all of those who have been disenfranchised in our Church.
While we acknowledge these imperfections in the plan, we also recognize that the One Church Model provides a significant gift to our conference and the entire denomination: the ability to live in unity without requiring uniformity. The One Church Model invites us to be united across our difference – a difference found in almost every congregation. Unity is difficult but unity teaches us empathy; it challenges us to reconsider the preconceived notions we have about others and ourselves, to grow a deeper understanding of ourselves and others, and to practice loving our neighbor always.
In the interest of unity, we, the Mountain Sky Conference Cabinet and Delegation, offer our prayerful support for the One Church Model as it has been presented by the Commission on the Way Forward. Recognizing its significant challenges, we accept the invitation to live into better community and to increase our love and empathy for each other, and to grow together in the likeness of Christ. Further, as leaders of this conference, we commit ourselves to working diligently to support and serve the conference as it continues to strive to live into God’s vision of Beloved Community.
Grace and peace in the name of Jesus Christ,
Doug Palmer, Don McCammon, Kunle Taiwo, Harvey Tukutau, Peg Plimpton, Margaret Hotze, lay delegates and first alternates;
Tyler Amundson, Kent Ingram, Jeremy Scott, Brad Laurvick, Megan Armstrong, Cathie Kelsey, clergy delegates and first alternates;
Bishop Karen Oliveto, Jeff Rainwater, Youngsook Kang, Margaret Gillikin, Paul Kottke, Marv Vose, Jan Witman, Tezenlo Thong, Deborah Christine, Amy Gearhart, MSC Cabinet