Our General Conference Delegates:
Envisioning Hope for The United Methodist Church
Compiled by Marie Kuch-Stanovsky | Photo by Patrick Scriven
The Pacific Northwest delegation to the 2016 General and Western Jurisdictional Conferences is preparing to serve at the global gathering in May and jurisdictional meeting in July. The ten lay and ten clergy delegates and reserves are reading the legislation in the Advance Daily Christian Advocate (bit.ly/gc16-aedca) and meeting regularly to discuss and hear from leadership.
Our group is also in prayer for each other and for God’s vision for the global church. We ask you to join us in hope, prayer, and discernment. Our Bishop is encouraging our Greater Northwest Episcopal Area to be in prayer together on the First Sundays leading up to and directly following General Conference with special bulletin inserts provided (http://greaternw.org/words-of-prayer/) for local church use.
Bishop Grant Hagiya and his colleagues on the Council of Bishops, have also invited each annual conference to host a 24-hour prayer effort with the intent of creating a groundswell of prayer in the days leading up to General Conference. The Pacific Northwest Conference has been asked to dedicate time to pray for General Conference on April 13. You can sign-up to be a part of the 24-hour prayer vigil at pnwumc.org/gcprayer.
A large part of our prayer and preparation is also visioning about both conferences and identifying our call in the midst of that vision. In order to share some of those thoughts with you, delegates have been asked to respond to one of the two questions:
What is your hope for General Conference?
Why were you called to serve on the delegation?
My hope for General Conference comes in the form of the vision that I hold as I pray…a vision of men and women gathered from around the world, attuned to the movement of the Spirit and letting go of their personal preferences to craft the next right iteration of The United Methodist Church — a Church that contributes to the right relationship of all creation through a connected system of local outposts that support persons in walking the transformational path of Jesus.
The Rev. Mary Huycke, Yakima: Wesley UMC
Practically speaking, my hope for General Conference is to learn the process, network across the connection, and build relationships. I plan to be on a steep learning curve since this is my first experience, but I am very confident our delegation includes some of our Conference rock stars that will mentor and guide me. I believe as an elected lay leader, it is my responsibility to lead and to represent the laity of the PNW. With God’s grace, I hope to be able to positively represent our conference to other delegates.
David Reinholz, Wenatchee: First UMC
My hope is that we spend time attentive to the activity of the Holy Spirit. I believe that God is far from finished with the UMC and that these days we spend together intentionally addressing some of the hardest questions will advance the kingdom of God here on earth. I feel called to serve this year with a perspective as a clergy who will likely serve as an ordained elder for 34 more years.
The Rev. DJ del Rosario, Bothell UMC
My hope for General Conference is that all participants (delegates, visitors, staff, observers) will be reminded that our ultimate call is not to declare rules on how the church will operate, or even to ensure the future of our institution; but to make space for the world to hear and experience the transformative love of God. And my prayer is that the world might experience that love even through our conferencing.
The Rev. Elizabeth Ingram Schindler, Faith: Issaquah UMC
My hope for General Conference is for a deeper sense of unity in our United Methodist conviction for God’s mission. In a world rife with violence, poverty, division, and injustice, I pray our church boldly leads the way in seeking the paths of spiritual and physical healing for all God’s people.
I believe that God’s church deserves the best leaders and I wanted to be a part of the Jurisdictional delegation to have a voice on behalf of our Annual Conference in the selection of our next Episcopal leader in the West.
The Rev. David Nieda, Superintendent, Vancouver District
I hope that delegates, volunteers, and visitors bring open minds and hearts ready for collaborative discernment to General Conference 2016. I also hope that we will take bold action, setting our moral compass in the right direction on pressing issues – particularly climate change and equality and inclusion of people who are LGBTQ. These two hopes are in tension with one another, and I pray for the wisdom to know when to listen and when to speak out.
Marie Kuch-Stanovsky, Seattle: Green Lake UMC
My hope for General Conference 2016 is that it will be a time of reconciliation and hope for the future of the church. I pray we leave knowing that our actions are consistent with being true disciples of Christ – speaking the truth in love, listening with open hearts, exhibiting respect for our sisters and brothers, sharing the love of Christ with one another and the world.
Joan Holmes, Seattle: Queen Anne UMC
What do I hope for as I prepare my heart, body and soul to attend General and Jurisdictional conferences this year? I hope that in the midst of the amazing worship services, hearing from our bishops from around the connection, and all the many meetings and caucusing that will be happening in the two weeks, that we remember we were once a movement of people who helped to influence social justice movements of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, we United Methodists were once considered to be the conscious of our societies. (Continue reading more at bit.ly/gc16-monica)
The Rev. Dr. Monica Corsaro, Seattle: Mary’s Place
I sought to participate in this years General Conference because I wanted to be an active part of the process by which we create a template for future governance of the church. I was interested in advocating for a more inclusive church that viewed all of God’s children as valued and equal in His eyes. I was interested in advocating for changes that expand the impact our denomination has in promoting system changes on important issues like the dispute between the Israelis and Palestinians and our commitment in advocating for action designed to address the harm of climate change. My hope is that we will help create a basis for ongoing dialogue on these issues with those who may feel quite differently than I do.
Tom Robinson, Spokane: Covenant UMC
I feel called to serve on the delegation because I believe the role of the laity is SO important. The decisions made at General and Jurisdictional conferences will have fundamental and lasting effects on each one of us. I’m an average churchgoer with a secular job and a full-time family–not unlike many Methodists in our state, nation, and world.
Megan Kilpatrick, Puyallup UMC
My hope for this General Conference is that languages that can hurt LGBTQ persons be removed from the Book of Discipline. Through Christian Conferencing may we deepen our relationships with those who do not share the same views that we have. May some conservative delegates’ hearts be softened so that we can become truly a Church with “open hearts, open minds, open doors” for all God’s people.
Noriko Lao, Lynden UMC
My hope for General Conference is simply that the Spirit of God will pervade the gathering and that we will all be able to connect with our best selves and our holiest impulses. Over the years my hopes have been disappointment many times and I have given up hoping for specific things. Rather, I trust the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Universe, the Spirit of all that is good and right to lead and guide and open us all to the deepest concern and love for one another and creation.
The Rev. Sharon Moe, Seattle: First UMC
My hope for General Conference is that we are mindful of our resources — that we do not waste time and emotion arguing blindly. Instead that we listen, learn, and dialogue compassionately. To listen to what each of us feels is God’s call, accept that as their truth, and learn of the righteousness that rests amongst all of our truths. Finally, to dialogue in bold compassion as we build up, preserve, and restore the Kingdom of God.
Karyn Kuan, Seattle: First UMC
As I envision General Conference, I see a Hope – filled time where we will see glimpses of barriers transformed into bridges, of swords into plowshares, and God’s Shalom birthed anew within our UMC.
The Rev. Kay C. Barckley, Seattle: University Temple UMC
My calling to serve on the delegation comes out of my love for process and want to see The United Methodist Church serve well into the 21st Century. My hope is that by working alongside people from all over the world we can see why we make a difference despite our differences and by the grace of God be compelled to continue making a difference.
The Rev. Shane Moore, Pullman: Simpson UMC
Hope is a bit tricky because it can easily become a wish for something in alignment with one’s own agenda. There are so many important issues that will be before the General Conference. So, I hope that the delegates and visitors will be continually open to the will of God, embody the message of Jesus the Christ, and be receptive to the movement of the Spirit.
Barbara Dadd Shaffer, Stanwood UMC
The delegation covets your prayers as they continue their work and preparations for General Conference 2016. You can learn more about General Conference 2016 at: gc2016.umc.org