TO: Dakotas and Minnesota Conference Pastors
Lay Members of Annual Conference
Local Church Lay Leaders
Chairs of Local Church Administrative Councils or Leadership Teams
FROM: Bishop Bruce R. Ough
RE: Conversations on a Way Forward
Dear Friends in Christ:
Grace and peace to you from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The 2016 General Conference called upon the Council of Bishops to guide The United Methodist Church in finding a “way forward” through the four-decade-long divide we have had on the matter of homosexuality. As a result, the Council formed a Commission on A Way Forward to assist the bishops with this task. The Commission will make its final report to the Council of Bishops in May 2018 and the Council, in turn, will make its recommendation to a called session of the General Conference in February 2019.
This fall (September – November), I will be hosting 15 regional conversations across the Dakotas-Minnesota Area regarding the Commission’s work. I am eager to keep you informed about their deliberations and progress and, more significantly, to gather your thoughts about a way forward. I am interested, among other things, to engage in dialogue about how you see The United Methodist Church remaining united in the presence of significant cultural, regional and theological differences.
I encourage you to pre-register for the regional gathering you would like to attend. Your pre-registration will assist the host congregations to prepare appropriate meeting space and hospitality. You can register for any regional gathering that is convenient for you. Each gathering will last approximately two hours. Please register on-line at this link. A complete listing of all meeting dates, times and locations can be found below and on the registration site. If you have any questions, please contact your district superintendent or Sheilah Kyburz in the Area office (via e-mail here or phone at 612-870-4007).
I look forward to this opportunity to engage in crucial conversation with you. I urge you to continue to pray seeking God’s guidance and blessing for the Commission and the Council.
Pierre SD, First UMC (117 N Central), Sat. Sept. 23, 1-3 p.m.
Rapid City SD, Rapid City Canyon Lake UMC (3500 Canyon Lake Dr.), Sun. Sept. 24, 2:30-4:30 p.m. (Mountain Time Zone)
Minot ND, Vincent UMC (1024 Second St. SE), Sat. Sept. 30, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Bismarck ND, Legacy UMC (4600 Durango Dr.), Sun. Oct. 1, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
St. Cloud MN, First UMC of the St. Cloud Region in Sartell (1107 Pine Cone Rd.), Sun. Oct. 8, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Bloomington MN, Normandale Hylands UMC (9920 Normandale Blvd. S), Sat. Oct. 21, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Sioux Falls SD, Sioux Falls Sunnycrest UMC (4801 W 41st St.), Sun. Oct. 22, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Mitchell SD, Mitchell First UMC (310 N Rowley St.), Mon. Oct. 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Mankato MN, Belgrade Avenue UMC (325 Sherman St.), Tues. Oct. 24, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Eagan MN, Advent UMC (3945 Lexington Ave. S) Wed. Oct. 25, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Rochester MN, Evangel UMC (2645 North Broadway), Thurs. Oct. 26 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Watertown SD, Cornerstone UMC (1350 11th St. NE), Sat. Oct. 28, 9-11 a.m.
Fargo ND, Calvary UMC (4575 45th St. S), Sun. Oct. 29, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Alexandria MN, Alexandria UMC (2210 6th Ave. E), Mon. Oct. 30, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Roseville MN, Centennial UMC (1524 W County Rd. C2), Thurs. Nov. 2, 6:30-8:30 p.m.