By Teresa Keese, Laura Merrill, and Abel Vega
Sixteen members of the Rio Texas General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegation attended the South Central Jurisdictional General Conference Delegate Gathering held at St. Luke’s UMC in Oklahoma City on October 4-5. The gathering, hosted by the SCJ Mission Council, was held to inform the delegates of the three structure options to be presented at the 2019 Special Session of General Conference. The pension implications of each plan were also presented. Delegates from across the jurisdiction joined in a time of listening, learning, worship, prayer, sharing, and developing a sense of community and understanding across different backgrounds and beliefs. The event planners purposefully assigned seating to create a mixed group from different delegations and beliefs at each table, which allowed for a new depth of conversation surrounding the UMC and our mission and purpose. We discussed how that depth applies to the decisions to be made at the General Conference Special Session next February in St. Louis.
The three options presented included the One Church Plan, presented by our own Bishop Robert Schnase on behalf of the Commission on a Way Forward; the Traditional Plan, presented by Bishop Scott Jones; and the Connectional Conference Plan, presented by Bishop Gary Mueller. The presenters outlined the details and impact of each plan, with time provided in between each presentation for open discussion and dialogue within the groups. It was during this discussion time that we learned about each others’ observations and views about each plan, which provided better knowledge for decision-making and community-building. In addition, Dale Jones from Wespath gave an overview of the impact each plan would have on the pension plans and the ongoing liabilities involved.
Going forward, Rio Texas delegates are planning informational sessions across various districts, and our delegation will gather for their next meeting in late November. We humbly ask our conference to be in prayer for our delegates for discernment and wisdom as they prepare for the important work ahead!
Yours in Christ,
General Conference Delegation Leadership Team:
Find resources, videos, and more at riotexas.org/gc2019