Clergy and lay representatives from 11 annual conferences, including the Dakotas, gathered from July 13-16 in Peoria, Illinois. Delegates elected four new bishops, said goodbye to four bishops, spent time listening, and they approved a resolution related to human sexuality as well as a budget and a new budget process at the 2016 North Central Jurisdictional (NCJ) Conference
Photo: Matt Bader listens to viewpoints from other delegates at the North Central Jurisdicitional Conference. Photo courtesy of NCJ communicators.
Delegates representing the Dakotas Conference were: Rev. Rebecca Trefz, clergy delegate, Rev. Roger Spahr, clergy delegate, Rev. Kermit Culver, clergy alternate delegate, Rev. Jenny Hallenbeck Orr, clergy alternate delegate, Rev. Jen Tyler, clergy alternate delegate, Jodi Cataldo, lay delegate, Matt Bader, lay delegate, Emma McKirdy Wilsey, lay alternate delegate, Nathan Bader, lay alternate delegate, Natalie Buck, lay alternate delegate.
Bishop Ough to return
Bishop Ough has been reassigned to the Dakotas-Minnesota Area through 2020.
At the end of the consecration worship service Saturday morning, United Methodists in the North Central Jurisdiction learned where each of the jurisdiction’s nine bishops will be assigned for the next four years.
Bishop Ough recorded a video message after learning of his reassignment to the Dakotas-Minnesota Area.
Char and I are delighted to be re-assigned to the Dakotas-Minnesota Area. Our hearts are in the Area and it brings us great joy to be able to follow our hearts. Now I look forward to the next four years together. There is still much to be done as we seek to increase the number of congregations – current and yet to be planted – that are growing in their love of God, reaching and making new disciples and healing a broken world.
Dakotas Conference delegates reflect on NCJ
Photo: The Dakotas Conference delegation gathers for discussion and prayer. Photo by Doreen Gosmire, Dakotas Conference.
The Dakotas Conference had one of the youngest delegations at the North Central Jurisdictional Conference in Peoria. “We have 60 % of our delegation who are 18-35,” said Matt Bader, lay delegate. “A lot of people have noticed that.”
“The Dakotas Conference can be proud that they elected four young adults as part of the lay delegation that are here,” said Natalie Buck, alternate lay delegate.
Other delegations also noticed how the Dakotas Conference worked as a team. “Our delegation really worked together,” said Rev. Rebecca Trefz, clergy delegate. “Everyone was assigned to attend forums and share their thoughts and perceptions. Everyone really listened and valued each other's views.”
“The Dakotas delegation is one of the smallest but people have noticed how cooperative we are and how we work together,” said Rev. Roger Spahr, clergy delegate.
The jurisdictional conference was an enriching, pleasant experience for several members of the Dakotas delegation.
“I did not know what to expect,” said Buck. “It has been an excellent experience to be able to see the church at a whole new level.”
“It has been enlightening to see something larger than our conference,” said Emma McKirdy-Wisley, alternate lay delegate. “To see our bishops in action, meet so many people who are passionate and care about things like racial issues. That is not something I have ever experienced.”
“This is my first taste of the church on a larger scale,” said Nathan Bader, alternate lay delegate. “I was amazed by the different styles in preaching, worship and yet how we all came together as one body.”
Worship, election of the four new bishops and the episcopal address were noted highlights by the Dakotas Conference delegation.
“Experiencing the sermon by Bishop Keaton was something totally new for me,” said Nathan Bader, alternate lay delegate. “I am so use to sitting quietly and listening. I did not expect people to shout out 'Amen' or ‘Go preacher go’.”
“It was such a moving and historic moment to be able to part of the election process,” said Matt Bader, lay delegate. “The speeches, the applauding, it was cool to see the process in place.”
“Bishop’s Kiesey’s episcopal address was the best I have ever heard her,” said Rev. Kermit Culver, alternate clergy delegate. “The connection of the message to the music was very, very powerful.”
The need to see the church as one body, to keep listening and share the growth in the Dakotas are some messages that members of the delegation will bring back to those in the Conference.
“It has been fun to share with others throughout the jurisdiction that the Dakotas Conference is growing,” said Spahr. “We need to do more of that. I have secretly been recruiting clergy also.”
“I really appreciated the time set aside for conversations on racial issues and tension at jurisdictional conference,” said Rev. Jen Tyler, alternate clergy delegate. “We can all learn from each other. We need to learn how to listen and be one body.”
"Our delegation has been so postive, working together as a team. That has been noticed," said Jodi Cataldo, lay delegate. "We have a lot to be proud of in the Dakotas. We need to share our growth and lay leadership with the whole church."
“We need to keep listening and be open to transformation,” said Trefz.” I walked away from jurisdictional conference with a renewed sense of the need to make disciples not just church members. We need to transform ourselves to transform the world."
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