In 2021, Bishop Laurie Haller called for the creation of a Task Force for the Continuing United Methodist Church in the Dakotas. This group was charged with the task of deep listening across the Conference for the purpose of clarifying and articulating the vision and values shared by churches and pastors across the theological spectrum who wish to remain in covenant connection, believing that our diversity enhances our movement and our witness to the world. This intentional listening and conversation happened with those who would consider themselves conservative, progressive, and centrist. It happened in churches in large communities and in rural areas; settings with primarily older adults as well as campus ministry settings; gatherings with youth and with the LGBTQ community. They asked questions about what was important to them as followers of Jesus, what needs they saw in the community that the Church should address, what they valued about being United Methodist, and what their vision for the future was. Information from the Values Discernment workshops was considered, seeking common value themes among congregations across the Dakotas. Your input is needed. Please review the the draft of the vision and values document and complete your survey.
Dear Pastors and Churches,
Greetings in the name of the Risen Christ! We hope this summer has been a time of rest and renewal and enjoyment of God’s creation. As we prepare for schools to begin, fall activities to start up, and the signs of seasons changing that we will see in God’s creation, we are looking ahead to the next season of mission and ministry as Dakotas United Methodists.
At Annual Conference this year, the Bishop’s Task Force on the Continuing Dakotas United Methodist Conference shared the initial draft of the Vision and Values document they had been working on for the past year. Since Annual Conference, we have made a few small editorial changes and wording adjustments for more clarity. View the updated doument.
As was shared at Annual Conference, now we want to hear from you!
The link below will take you to a feedback form. We invite you and your church leadership to read through this document and discuss it together considering these questions:
Survey Link: https://www.dakotasumc.org/resources/forms/2974
What values have we not named—not ASPIRATIONAL values, but the values you SEE Dakotas United Methodists living out already—values that signify what is important to us?
What would you add to this vision statement? Obviously, a couple pages of a vision statement can’t outline every Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. But what is missing?
It can be tempting to see a vision as “getting back to the way things used to be ‘back in the day.’” But we know that the past two and a half years fast-forwarded us into the future and life isn’t going back to “the way it used to be.” So who is God calling us to be now?
The values named and the vision set forth in this document emerged from a lot of listening—listening to the Holy Spirit speaking through Dakotas United Methodists, through our history together and through our hopes for the future. That listening continues through this feedback process. The Dakotas Conference isn’t just a small group of staff or elected leadership. It is all of us. As this document is refined, it will act as a framework for how we use the shared resources and talents God has entrusted us with and how we continue to encourage, support and equip local churches to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Thank you for your partnership in these efforts!
With you in the work of Christ,
Bishop’s Task Force on the Continuing Dakotas United Methodist Conference