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2024 Annual Conference highlights

By: Doreen Gosmire, director of communications, Dakotas UMC

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Bishop Lanette Plambeck prays over Russ McDonald, president, United Tribes College. Photos by jlynn studios.

Wondering how to condense two and one-half full days of worship, discerning, and celebrating into a succinct report you can bring back to members of your congregation?

Here are some highlights to consider sharing:

Drawing on Isaiah 43:1, the theme of this year’s gathering is “Jesus. Redeemer.” We are all called and redeemed by God. God rightfully declares: "You are mine." The Lord not only knows us each by name, but God also calls us by name. Like the people of Israel, we, too, are seeking to encounter the living Christ. Even amidst the challenges of our world today, we seek to be redeemed and respond by “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” Matthew 28:19Access logo and graphics

Bishop's Episcopal Address: Bishop Lanette Plambeck delivered the 2024 Episcopal Address during opening worship on Thursday, June 8, 2024. In 2019, Bishop Lanette Plambeck took a trip to Scotland seeking renewal, rest, and redemption—and as she was stepping onto a bus, the driver instructed her to “mind the gap.” In that moment, God gave her a dream to mind the gap between the brokenness around us and the world we are called to help bring about. “You and I, laity and clergy all across the Dakotas Conference, can be engaged in the work of closing the gap, minding the gap, that separates the kingdom of heaven from what we are experiencing here on earth,” she told those gathered in her 2024 Episcopal Address. Watch the Episcopal Address 

Missional Report: 
The 2023-24 Missional Report encourages and reminds us, we need not fear, as God is with us. Lay and clergy persons across the Dakotas Conference are living out their call from God. In the past year, United Methodists across the Dakotas have grown in their love of Jesus and shared that love with others. The report is framed around Isaiah 43:1, the theme of this year’s Annual Conference is “Jesus. Redeemer.” We are all called and redeemed by God. God rightfully declares, "You are mine." The Lord not only knows us each by name, but God also calls us by name. Four distinct parts of Isaiah are highlighted. How we encounter our fears and turn them over to God; believing and sharing God’s redemptive power; living into the call God has placed on our lives; and leaning on and spreading God’s love for us. View the 2023-2024 Missional Report

TED style talks: Four speakers shared how ideas might hold promise for us in ministry and our faith journeys. Speakers challenged us to wrestle with our questions, surrender to God’s call for each of us, and impact the world by making disciples. Leander R. McDonald, President, United Tribes Technical College, shared how together we become stronger as we learn and value our cultural differences and connect. Rev. Howie Baird, spoke about the challenges of addiction and opportunities the church can offer through recovery ministry. Stacy Schaffer provided insight into human trafficking and how we can impact the problem. Katie Meeks challenged everyone to step up and out into the mission field. View the livestream from Thursday, June 6. View the livestream from Friday, June 7.

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Bishop Lanette thanks Rev. Rebecca Trefz for her ten years of service on the Dakotas Cabinet.

Legislation: Voting members of the 31st Session of the Dakotas Annual Conference affirmed all the legislation before them, including the 2025 Budget Proposal, an addition to the Clergy Leave Policy and a new Clergy Move Policy. The body approved an apportioned budget of just over $3 million. “We have done holy work together,” Bishop Lanette Plambeck told the body as the business of the 2024 Annual Conference concluded. View all the legislation.

2024 Miracle Offering: 
Bishop Lanette Plambeck invited those present to the 2024 Miracle Offering. "We have an invitation today to be a means of grace for God to work a Miracle in and through us," said Bishop Lanette. So far $34,000 has been collected for the 2024 Miracle Offering. The Miracle Offering will be divided among the following recipients: the 31:8 Project, Abbott House’s Bridges Therapeutic Foster Care, recovery ministry grants, and the Clergy Sustentation Fund.  Pledges and donation will continue throughout 2024. Access information and resources

Bishop Carlo Rapanut's sermon: “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. God gives us the right and responsibility to say and name, ‘you are mine.’ God gave everyone a name and purpose,” shared Bishop Carlo Rapanut, of the Phoenix Episcopal Area, during the Friday morning worship service at the 2024 Dakotas Annual Conference. “Let us be reminded that every time we do something to strip someone of who they are, we are subduing,” said Bishop Carlo. “God’s redeeming act is reclaiming us. God is asking us to restore value in each other.” Giving to the 2024 Miracle Offering means saying, “you are mine,” noted Bishop Carlo
Get more details. Watch Bishop Carlo's sermon here.

Ministry milestones
: On Saturday, people gathered at McCabe United Methodist to honor and thank four clergy entering retirement, and celebrate two pastors ordained as an elders, four commissioned as provisional members, three local licensed pastors who completed their educational requirements, and three people authorized to serve as local pastors in the congregations and ministry areas in which they are appointed. View the Celebration of Life in Ministry ServiceAccess the Celebration of Life in Ministry booklet.

Resources for creating a presentation or sharing what you learned: 
Bulletin insert word version Bulletin insert pdf | Power Point template

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Bishop Carlo Rapanut, Phoenix Episcopal Area, preached on Friday morning.

Videos: Throughout annual conference, attendees watched videos that highlighted ways that churches and individuals are living out their Wesleyan ways and Fresh Expressions as United Methodists in the Dakotas.

Serving Coffee and Jesus: Four congregations are connecting with their community over coffee. Jump Start at Salem Unite, launched in 2017 inspired Alexandria UMC to start Morning Brew. Morning Brew happens once a month community member, inviting students from the nearby school and members of the community for coffee and treats. Mornings with a Mission at Iroquois and DeSmet, South Dakota, is a hospitality ministry of United Methodist congregations, modeled after Salem Unite and Alexandria UMC, serves coffee and souls once a month. View the video.

Inviting People to Dinner and Jesus: The Dinner Church model of Fresh Expressions seeks to transform communities and individuals through championing, resourcing, and multiplying new ways of being church. Fresh expressions are your opportunity to invite new people to Jesus in new places working alongside your current church setting. Three congregation are inviting people to dinner and Jesus at First UMC in Fargo, North Dakota, First UMC in Jamestown, North Dakota, and Vincent UMC in Minot, North Dakota. View the video.

Creating Room for All: Welcoming people through your door is one thing, but truly including and giving voice to all people may be more complex. Three ministries in the Dakotas are welcoming a diverse group of people: Renuevo, a collaborative Hispanic ministry of Sunnycrest UMC in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is reaching people in Plankinton and Sioux Falls. Legacy UMC is reaching Ukrainians living in Bismarck, North Dakota. Flame of Faith UMC in West Fargo has worked to intentionally create safe and welcoming space for neurodiversity in their community. View the video.

Know that I am God: A lot happened at the postponed 2020 General Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was a glimpse of Holy conferencing! Catch the spirit of inspiring worship and the United Methodist connection that delegates experienced in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 23-May 2, 2024. View the video.

View and download all videos

Photos: You can view and even download high-resolution versions of all photographs that professional photographer Joni Rasmussen, jlynnstudios took. Just click on the photo you want, then hit the down arrow in the lower-right corner of the page. View and download some of the photos.

News articles and printed materials: Access all news articlesAccess all printed materials.


Wrap-up video:



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