The Western Methodist Justice Movement Leadership Team met in November for their annual meeting held at Central United Methodist Church in Sacramento, Calif. Representing the California-Pacific, California-Nevada, Rocky Mountain, Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conferences, 17 participants helped to redefine WMJM and how they can better serve the community in the Western Jurisdiction.

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.

Their time spent together as a large group yielded in unities that allowed individuals to focus on areas of interest and strength. From February’s Rise Up Conference in Portland, Ore., they were affirmed that creating spaces to take action and having timely communication on how different Annual Conferences can respond are needed as the current political climate rapidly changes.

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?

The Rev. Austin Adkinson and Rhondalei Gabuat

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.

The WMJM Leadership Team closing out the successful weekend of planning for the start of 2018 with a shared meal at Journey To The Dumpling in Elk Grove, Calif.

Rhondalei Gabuat serves as a district administrator for Seattle, Tacoma, and Inland Districts.

The Wesley Challenge: 21 Days to a More Authentic Faith (D3294)

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  1. Has the WMJM considered Native American justice issues as part of the UMC’s Repentence and Reconciliation efforts. Let’s not keep forgetting about Native Americans in our midst!

    • Hi Douglas – Thank you for reading and reminding us of the UMC’s ministry of repentance and reconciliation with Native American and other indigenous people. As someone who is from the PNW, there is consideration and honor given to the land that we are visitors on and the people that have inhabited this land whenever we hold space. Last year, clergy traveled to North Dakota, supporting the peaceful protest in Standing Rock. Rev. Richenda Fairhurst was among those from the PNW and shared her experience ( The struggles of the indigenous people here and around the world are definitely part of the mission and values that WMJM strives to carry forth in the work we do.

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