Last fall, Bishop Bruce R. Ough hosted 15 Conversations on A Way Forward across the Dakotas-Minnesota Area. They were attended by more than 1,000 clergy and laity.
Since then, the Commission on a Way Forward—which was tasked with working to address the denomination’s differences regarding human sexuality—finished its work and submitted three possible plans to the Council of Bishops. The Council decided to recommend a specific plan—the One Church Plan—to the special session of General Conference, which will meet Feb. 23-26 in St. Louis.
Again this fall, Bishop Ough will host a series of 15 gatherings across the Area to continue the Conversations on A Way Forward as the denomination prepares for the special session early next year. Registration for these gatherings is now open.
Members of the Dakotas and/or Minnesota Conference delegations to the special session of General Conference will assist Bishop Ough in hosting the gatherings. This will provide an opportunity for the delegates to listen to and dialogue with participants.
All of those interested are invited to participate. However, Bishop Ough encourages lay and clergy members of Annual Conference, local church lay leaders, and other local church leaders, in particular, to attend.
Attendees will receive information about the proposals that will go before the delegates to the 2019 General Conference, and the gatherings will also provide a setting in which to share resources and tools for how to facilitate dialogue and build resiliency in local churches.
In preparation for the gatherings, Bishop Ough encourages individuals and congregations to read Anatomy of Peace by the Arbinger Institute and God Unbound by Elaine A. Heath. He also invites all United Methodists to participate in the denomination-wide “Praying Our Way Forward” initiative.
Dave Nuckols, a member of Minnetonka UMC, in Minnetonka, Minnesota, was one of the 32 members of the Commission on a Way Forward, which recently released its report to General Conference.
The gathering times, dates, and locations are as follows (individuals from Minnesota and the Dakotas can attend any one of these 15 gatherings, regardless of which conference it takes place in):
Alexandria UMC (2210 Sixth Ave. East)—Monday, Sept. 24, 6:30-9 p.m.
Duluth: First UMC (230 E Skyline Pkwy)—Tuesday, Sept. 25, 6:30-9 p.m.
Rochester: Christ UMC (400 5th Ave. SW)—Wednesday, Sept. 26, 6:30-9 p.m.
Bloomington: Normandale Hylands UMC (9920 Normandale Blvd.)—Thursday, Sept. 27, 6:30-9 p.m.
Maple Grove: Cross Winds UMC (15051 Weaver Lake Road)—Saturday, Sept. 29, 9-11:30 a.m.
Mankato: Centenary UMC (501 S 2nd St.), Sunday, Sept. 30, 2:30-5 p.m.
Woodbury: The Grove UMC (7465 Steepleview Road)—Monday, Oct. 1, 6:30-9 p.m.
Watertown: Cornerstone UMC (1350 11th St. NE)—Monday, Oct. 8, 6:30-9 p.m.
Sioux Falls: First UMC (401 S Spring Ave.)—Tuesday, Oct. 9, 6:30-9 p.m.
Dickinson: Prairie Winds UMC (2510 21st Street West)—Sunday, Oct. 14, 2:30-5 p.m. MT
Bismarck: McCabe UMC (1030 6th St. N)—Monday, Oct. 15, 6:30-9 p.m.
Fargo: Faith UMC (909 19th Ave. N)—Thursday, Oct. 18, 6:30-9 p.m.
Pierre: First UMC (117 N Central)—Monday, Oct. 29, 6:30-9 p.m.
Rapid City: First UMC (629 Kansas City St.)—Tuesday, Oct. 30, 6:30-9 p.m. MT
Dakota Wesleyan University (1200 W University Ave.) *—Wednesday, Oct. 31, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
* The Conversation at Dakota Wesleyan University on October 31 is during mealtime. Attendees will meet in the Knox Conference Room, which is near the cafeteria in the Rollins Campus Center. Those who wish to eat during the conversation will need to go through the cafeteria line and pay for their meal and then take it to Knox where the meeting will begin at 11:30.