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Annual Conference

Clergy Session

Dakotas Conference clergy gathered around screens for the 2021 Clergy Session. Bishop Laurie Haller, presided and greeted more than 200 clergy members joining on their electronic devices.

Business was conducted in a webinar platform. The main presenters, Bishop Haller, presider, and Rev. Val Reinhiller, chair of Dakotas Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, were at Sunnycrest UMC in Sioux Falls, Dakota. Together they guided the work of the clergy session.

“I am delighted to be with you today,” said Bishop Haller, opening the 2021 Clergy Session. “We are meeting today virtually in a webinar format where you can hear and see the presenters but cannot hear see each other. We believe this will be an effective and efficient way for us to conduct business.”

Revs. Sara McManus and Amber Laffey were also present at Sunnycrest to assist with voting, welcoming the candidates as they joined as members, and facilitating discussion.

Revs. Gary Ball-Killbourne and Brandon Vetter joined from their home or office to present reports and assist with business matters. Several clergy shared prayers, introductions, and other matters through pre-recorded videos.

Meeting participants were able to interact in several ways. Clergy connected with each other in conversation through "chat." Motions and points of clarification were posted in the Question and Answer (Q & A) feature of the platform. Members of the clergy session could also request to present live, by making a request to do so through the Q & A feature. After the request was recognized by the presiding officer, they could join and interact with audio and/ or video. 
Voting took place through the polls feature.

A team of six people were behind the scenes managing all of the technology and support. Doreen Gosmire, Andrea Hult, Deb Kjerstad, Bea Stucke and Dave Stucke were in the chat room, helping with voting, responding to our technology needs, sharing Power Point and video.

Here are some of the highlights from the 2021 clergy session agenda:

  • Six clergy members were memorialized: Rev. Norman Winkelman, Rev. Donald Greenough, Rev. Elizabeth Conrad Smart, Rev. Steven Olson, Rev. Raymond Earl Stucke, and Rev. Gustav Van Tassel.
  • Four provisional members were affirmed Quaya Ackerman, Julie Gregg, Rodney Knock, and Michele Slott. They will be commissioned as elders at the 2021 Annual Conference in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Friday, June 11 at 7 p.m.
  • Autumn Krueger, Valerie Hummbel LaBounty, and Seth LaBounty were approved as a full members and for ordination. They will be ordained at the Celebration of Life in Ministry Service at the Sioux Falls Convention Center, June 11, at 7 p.m.
  • Retiring clergy were honored including local license pastors: Ken Ballard and Jeffrey Neuberger. Retiring elders are: Dave Motta, Rick Pittenger, and Rod Tkach.

"My prayers are directed to you, the clergy of the Dakotas Annual Conference, and my heart is filled with gratitude for your faithfulness. I see Christ in each one of you,”said Bishop Haller, as she closed the 2021 Clergy Session.“We are all connected in Christ.”

A special thanks to Rev. Charlie Moore, and all of the staff at  Sunnycrest United Methodist Church for providing the space and assisting in many ways.



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