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2019 Annual Conference

2019 Annual Conference

The twenty-sixth session of the Dakotas Annual Conference was held June 6-8, 2019, at the Bismarck Event Center in Bismarck, North Dakota. More than 600 United Methodists from North and South Dakota experienced inspiring worship, meaningful learning, conducted business, and enjoyed fellowship. Here are some of the highlights.

Theme: Drawing on John 4:1-26, the theme of the 2019 annual conference session was “Dare to Reach: Love Boldly!” We explored ways in which Jesus calls us to step out of our comfort zone and reach those around of us with the love of God in ways beyond our imagination. We were encouraged to gather our collective story of how God's love quenches our thirst and explore ways to invite everyone to drink from the well, so that their thirst may be quenched. We were encouraged to practice an evangelistic spirit as we seek to live out our mission—"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19).

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Bishop’s Episcopal Address: In his 2019 Episcopal Address, Bishop Ough talked about how, there is more work to do. In order to fulfill this year’s theme of “Dare to Reach, Love Boldly,” the bishop pointed the Annual Conference to the story of Jesus’ conversation with a Samaritan woman told in John 4. Ough noted the paradox that with each encounter with God, our thirst for God is at once quenched and heightened. He encouraged those present to return daily to conversation with Jesus, asking him to fill our cups so that we can share with others, just as the Samaritan woman shared her encounter with Jesus with her neighbors. Read More 

Teaching sessions with Rev. Mark Teasdale: Faithful evangelism is not a matter of technical skill, but of reflection, awareness, and formation. This view of evangelism is inviting, according to Dr. Mark Teasdale, who addressed the Dakotas Annual Conference with “Evangelism for Non-evangelists” in two teaching sessions on Friday. “Evangelism is not about best practices or getting the right formula,” Teasdale said. “It is primarily about formation—being formed as those in the Good News who therefore flow out with the Good News.” Read More

Missional Report: The Dakotas Annual Conference is living out this year's annual conference theme —Dare to Reach! Love Bodly!  In four separate sessions, Annual Conference attendees learned about how the conference and churches Dare, Reach, Love and are Bold. Read about the 2019 Missional Report and view the videos that were presented here.

Legislation: Members of the 2019 Annual Conference Session addressed several legislative items including:

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LGBTQ resolution—Richard Wahlstrom, a member of Canyon Lake United Methodist Church in Rapid City, South Dakota, brought forth a resolution to eliminate discriminatory language, restrictions, and penalties in the Book of Discipline regarding LGBTQ persons. Members of the 26th session of the Dakotas Annual Conference affirmed the resolution by a vote of 220 to 136. Read the resolution here.

2020 Budget—The 2020 budget was approved for a total of $4,295,234 apportioned funds for conference ministries and $2,845,965 for clergy pensions and health. Jodi Cataldo, who serves as member of the Luke 10 ministry team, made a motion that requested that the Conference Council on Finance and Administration develop a plan to move towards a 10 percent request for apportioned funds by 2023. The current rate for apportioning funds for ministry is 16 percent. The motion failed.

Annual Conference sites for 2021 to 2024—The members of the annual conference accepted a proposal from the Sessions Committee to hold annual conference in Bismarck, North Dakota, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for 2021-2024. Annual Conference will be held in Bismarck, North Dakota, in 2021 and 2023. The Dakotas Conference will be in session at, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 2022 and 2024.

Delegates for the 2020 General Conference and North Central Jurisdictional Conference were elected. General Conference will be held May 2020, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. General Conference delegates elected are: Rev. Rebecca Trefz, clergy delegate, Kara Togel, lay delegate, Rev. Sara Nelson, clergy reserve delegate, and Beata Ferris, lay reserve delegate. 

Members of the 26th Session of the Dakotas Annual Conference elected delegates to the North Central Juriscdictional Conference (NCJ) in Fort Wayne, Indiana in July of 2020. Clergy delegates are: Rev. Rebecca Trefz, Rev. Sara Nelson, as well as Rev. Ray Baker, first reserve, Rev. Roger Spahr, second reserve, and Rev. Jenny Hallenbeck Orr, third reserve. Lay delegates are: Kara Togel, Beata Ferris, as well as Jane Hincks, first reserve, Jodi Cataldo, second reserve, and Tanner Carlson, third reserve. 

Lydia Project: Rev. Mary Anne Korsch and Char Ough, members of the 2020 General Conference host committee, lead a dedication and blessing of purple scarves. For the past eight months, members of more than 190 churches across the Dakotas-Minnesota Area have been creating beautiful, hand-made purple scarves that will be given to General Conference 2020 participants as a gesture of welcome. This initiative, called the Lydia Project (after Lydia in Acts 16), aims to provide warm hospitality to all who join in the work of legislation, fellowship, and worship when our global connection meets in Minneapolis in May 2020. Read more

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Generous giving

  • Miracle Offering Lead Boldly #fillthegap: At the end of the 2019 Annual Conference, more than $40,000 had been given. Funds will be equally divided between the Endowment Fund for Theological Education in the Central Conferences and a Dakotas United Methodist Foundation Scholarship Fund for undergraduate students planning to prepare for pastoral ministry and individuals training to be licensed local pastors in the Dakotas. There are significant gaps in financial assistance for pastors being trained in our Central Conferences (annual conferences outside the United States) and for those undergraduate and licensed local pastor students preparing for ministry in the Dakotas.
  • Special offering for Youth 2019 and Urban Plunge:  A special offering of $3,200 was collected during closing worship to support 177 youth and adults headed to Kansas City, July 7-14. They will serve others through an Urban Plunge experience and attend Youth 2019. Youth 2019 is THE national gathering for United Methodist Youth. 
  • Ministerial Student Aid: An offering for ministerial student aid was collected during the Celebration of Life in Ministry Service.  The amount colletected so far is $2,200.  The ministerial student aid fund supports clergy devopment and education for the Dakotas Conference.

If you would like to contribute to any of the offerings contact the conference office by e-mail or phone 605-996-6552.  You will find the Miracle Offering, Lead Boldly! #fillthegap offering envelopes and other details here

Recognizing those entering new chapter of ministry: At a Celebration of Life in Ministry worship service, Friday evening, hundreds of United Methodists gathered to remember 13 friends and colleagues who have died over the past year, honor 6 retiring clergy, and celebrate three elders being ordained, the ordination of three deacons, three elders being commissioned as a provisional members, and 13 newly licensed local pastors. Thanks be to God for this group of dedicated leaders! Read more

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Festival at the Park: Attendees enjoyed time in fellowship and food at the Sertoma Park on Thursday evening.  A 64 team cornhole tournament was held. The winners were the team of Pastor Steve Trefz, who serves Fusion UMC in Mitchell, South Dakota and Pastor Andrew Gross, who serves the United Methodist Church in Madison, South Dakota. Read more

Pre-Conference Workshops: Six pre-conference workshops were held on Wednesday, June 5, in the afternoon. Topics and presenters were: Creating a Missional Culture, presented by Gina Mueller, regional director of 3d Movements; New Worship Styles to Reach New People, presented by Pastors Matt Morrison, Sioux Falls Asbury UMC, Taylor Johnson, Sioux Falls First UMC, and other panelists; A Learner’s Guide to Evangelism, presented by Rev. Fred Vanderwerf, superintendent of the Southern Prairie District in Minnesota; Revitalizing the Rural Church, presented by  Pastors Cory Thrall, who serves Washburn, Center, Turtle Lake, Hazen, and Beulah in North Dakota, and Jason “Marty” Martens, who serves Salem Unite Church in South Dakota;  Reaching the Next Generation, presented by Stephanie Caro, Ministry Architects; and Breakthrough Prayer, presented bya  panel and moderated by Rev. Rebecca Trefz.   Read more


  • Annual conference logoClick here to download the "Dare to Reach! Love Boldly!" annual conference logo.
  • Information for the business items for the 2019 Dakotas Annual Conference can be found in the 2019 Conference Workbook. 
  • Missional reportClick here to view (and print) the missional report that highlights key progress we're making at living out this year’s annual conference theme—Dare to Reach: Love Boldy!. 
  • Photos: Click here to view photos from all three days of annual conference session (just select the album with photos from the day you want to see). You can download high-resolution versions of any of the photographs by Joni Rasmussen, jlynn studios. Click on the photo you want, then hit the down arrow in the lower-right corner of the page.
  • ArticlesClick here to read all the articles about key news and events during annual conference.
  • VideosClick here to view videos shown throughout Annual Conference 2019.  All videos can be downloaded for local church use.
  • Breakthrough prayer card: View and download a sheet with copies of the Breakthrough Prayer that Bishop Ough encourages all United Methodists throughout the Dakotas-Minnesota Area to pray daily. color version | black and white version
  •  Live Stream archive: View all of the worship services and plenary sessions here
  • Newsletter to share: Download a two-page newsletter, created by Rev. Marty Toepke-Floyd, to share, PDF version | Microsoft Word version


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