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Dakotas UMs encounter, transform, respond like Jesus: 2022-23 Missional Report

By: Doreen Gosmire, director of communications, Dakotas UMC

Leaning into the story of the Road to Emmaus we encounter Jesus, we are transformed and engage in making disciples like Jesus—our rock and redeemer, working in and through all of us.

“We have seen first-hand that, even as we seek to follow Jesus closely, the way forward will not be without struggle. We know this is especially true as we navigate the divisions within our own denomination and the ways they are manifesting in our churches and relationships,” Rev. Jeanne Sortland, chair of the Dakotas Conference Common Table, told attendees at the 2023 Annual Conference. “And yet, we believe in a God of redemption and resurrection in the power of the Holy Spirit to work in the in between—in the now and not yet.”

Highlights from the 2022-23 Missional Report

Dakotas United Methodists have followed the Spirit’s leading to create opportunities for children to encounter Jesus through:

  • A neurodiversity ministry at West Fargo Flame of faith.
  • Ethan, Alexandria, Plankinton, and White Lake have invested in providing after school programs on a weekly or monthly basis in order to plant seeds of faith.
  • First UMC Sioux Falls providing opportunities for children participating in their after-school program to encounter Jesus at church camp.
  • Wesley Acres Camp listed by Newsweek magazine as one of America's 500 Best Summer Camps for 2023.

Throughout the Dakotas Conference we have experienced transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • Dare to Lead training, tools for navigating difficult conversations, co-dependent no more groups, and scripture circles have helped clergy transform fear and conflict into courage, vulnerability and hope.
  • The Practical Church Leadership certificate program continues to thrive at Dakota Wesleyan University.
  • Nearly 30 congregations utilized the Values Discernment workshop experience to transform hopes, dreams, and experiences into clearly articulated value statements to guide their churches into the future.
  • The newly rechartered Dickinson United Methodist Church.

The ways in which individuals and congregations have responded to the Holy Spirit’s work in their midst are:

  • Two young adults completed the Elisha internship experience and two more will step into the Samuel program in the coming year.
  • Lay discernment retreats, a lay academy for preaching, worship, and training for congregational care.
  • Woonsocket Spirit of Faith, Fargo First and Mitchell Fusion are responding to their demographics by starting ministries for young adults to grow as followers of Jesus.


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