By Rhondalei Gabuat
Sacramento, Calif. – The leadership team of the Western Methodist Justice Movement (WMJM) convened their yearly planning meeting at The Table United Methodist Church in Sacramento, California on Nov. 30 – Dec. 2, 2017. The 17 participants represented the California-Pacific, California-Nevada, Rocky Mountain, Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Annual Conferences. The weekend redefined WMJM and how we can better serve the community in the Western Jurisdiction with our focus on the current structure and planning for the next six months.
The weekend was led by the young adults in attendance: Joyous Prim, Albert Longe, Stephanie Rice and Rhondalei Gabuat. We received guidance from seasoned leaders in attendance and created an agenda for the weekend that would allow us time to discuss in-depth, our relationships, commitments and plans for the upcoming year and 2020 General Conference and upcoming 2019 Special General Conference.
Over the three days, we were able to work together as a large group to strengthen unities, but also spent time in smaller breakout groups that allowed individuals to focus on areas of interest. From February’s Rise Up Conference, we affirmed creating spaces to take action are what is needed in the current political climate and that we saw intergenerational interaction from attendees who are passionate about creating change.
There is a need for timely communication and social media presence as a way to engage with members and the broader community about issues, especially with the increase in membership from the conference alone. We are committed to building this organization and ensuring that people from the communities we serve, have opportunities to serve in leadership within WMJM.
By making improvements and additions to the leadership structure and assessing the current action networks, we are looking forward to having more active participation from members and conducting outreach to all Western Jurisdiction Annual Conferences in the upcoming year. Areas of focus during our time together were: engagement, finance, structure and leadership that were led by the young adult members of WMJM, keeping in mind different ways that members can participate in each area. Through giving, prayer, study, advocacy or engagement, our hope is that each member will be empowered to share the work of WMJM actively in their communities and grow in faith, love and stewardship.
How can the PNW Conference be more involved?
Currently, there are two representatives from The Pacific Northwest Conference that are on the leadership team. The Rev. Austin Adkinson, whose focus is around supporting the UMC Queer Clergy and Rhondalei Gabuat who will serve on the nominating committee.
All attending were encouraged to network in our respective Conferences with emphasis on building connections in the Annual Conferences that are underrepresented in WMJM (Alaska, Desert Southwest, and Yellowstone) and understand what issues those Conferences are taking up. When the updated structure for the leadership team is finalized, the PNW Conference will be able to nominate candidates for those positions for the next term during the 2018 elections.
Rhondalei Gabuat serves as a district administrator for Seattle, Tacoma, and Inland Districts.
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This resource by retired UMC Bishop Rueben P. Job is a six-week (forty day) prayer journey that can be used anytime of year but may be particularly meaningful during Lent. The resource helps individuals and groups learn how to listen for, understand and follow God’s guidance and direction. Participants use the prayer guide on their own and then come together once a week to watch a video, discuss and share what they are learning and pray together. The DVD provides six video segments featuring interview clips with a variety of people talking about their own experiences with prayer