Six weeks ago, three hundred people gathered in the sanctuary of Topeka First UMC during Annual Conference to learn about what happened at the national UMCNext gathering and to learn more about what we can do here in the Great Plains. That week the Great Plains Annual Conference took courageous action to adopt the UMCNext principles, renounce the Traditional Plan, apologize for the harm the UMC has caused to LGBTQ+ persons, and establish a grant to raise up LGBTQ+ missional leaders. We elected an overwhelmingly inclusive delegation, and joined voices together to spread a message of hope for an expression of the church we so long to see.
We have reviewed the 120 responses to the survey we sent out during Annual Conference and see incredible hope in each of you. You bring passion, energy, and a resolve to create change right here in the Great Plains from the ground up. As our GP UMCNext Team discerned how to best move forward, we came to the consensus that our role (and your role) will be working to make sure Great Plains churches are resourced in ways that make sense to us locally.
Our action plan includes implementing the following:
- Great Plains Next News. This will be your guide for resources, information about resistance, and hearing stories of how Great Plains people and Great Plains churches are doing the work of living out the four principles.
- Resource Team. This team, led by Rev. Lora Andrews, will collect and provide resources to facilitate inclusion at the local level. Resources will include things like language guides, small group studies, and information on how to have difficult conversations.
- Resistance Team. This team, led by Rev. Debra McKnight, will offer individual, church, and conference wide opportunities to actively resist the Traditional Plan.