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Clergy session goes virtual

By: Doreen Gosmire, director of communications, Dakotas UMC

Clergy Session 3

Dakotas Conference clergy gathered around screens and in sanctuaries, following social distancing guidelines, for the 2020 Clergy Session. Bishop Ough, presided and greeted 180 clergy members joining on their individual devices and 54 clergy joining at 12 host churches to view the virtual meeting.

Business was conducted in a webinar platform. The main presenters, Bishop Bruce R. Ough, presider, and Rev. Val Reinhiller, chair of Dakotas Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, were at Legacy UMC in Bismarck, North Dakota. Together with the technical support team of nine, they guided the work of the clergy session.

"In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we gather in a unique way to do the business of the Dakotas Conference," said Bishop Ough, opening the 2020 Clergy Session.

Rev. Sara McManus and Rev. Gary Ball-Kilbourne joined from their home or office. 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 “raising their hand,” and then join to interact with everyone seeing them via video camera on their computer, and hear them through the computer microphone, or headphones connected to their device.

Voting took place through the polls feature for each of the individuals attending at their own individual device. Those attending at host sites voted by a show of hands that was reported by text by the host site facilitator to a teller.

Here are some of the highlights from the 2020 clergy session agenda:

  • Five clergy members were memorialized: Rev. William Casini, Rev. John Gibson, Rev. Donald Lagge, Rev. Janet Miller, and Rev. James Persons.
  • Bishop Ough honored the memory of Bishop Michael Coyner, who served the Dakotas Conference 1996-2004.
  • Two provisional members were affirmed and will be commissioned as elders in October at the 2020 Annual Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota, Matt Morrison and Joleen Pietrzak.
  • Henry Jenkins was approved as a full member.
  • Retiring clergy were affirmed including local license pastors: Kris Larson and Jeff Vore. Retiring elders are: Royal Archer, Arlyn Coalter, Randy Cross, Kermit Culver, David Heetland, Bill Hoffman, Ron Johnson, Randy Spahr, Roger Spahr, and Steve Ziebarth.

"I am grateful for each and everyone for their patience and understanding as we seek to do the work we are called to do," said Rev. Val Reinhiller, as she closed the 2020 Clergy Session.


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