Mountain Sky Outlook: Shared Futures
Greetings sisters and brothers in Christ!
In September, leaders from the Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone Annual Conferences received a recommendation to enter into serious conversation about merging these two conferences into one. The recommendation came from the Futures Task Force of the Yellowstone Annual Conference. The task force proposed the merger to encourage a more “solid disciple-making structure.”
I have named a Mountain Sky Area Shared Futures Committee composed of leaders from both conferences to review and respond to this proposal before annual conferences in June. This committee will be co-chaired by the Rev. Janet Forbes, of the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference, and the Rev. Dave McConnell, of the Yellowstone Annual Conference. The committee will answer two questions:
- What vision of vital ministry do the Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone conferences share?
- Is there value in the two conferences pursuing vital ministry together?
After their discussions, they will distribute a report to conference leaders as well as advise me on their findings and outcome of their work to inform future planning and action.
Even as we move forward in the formation of this committee, remember that this process takes time. The group will explore whether the two conferences share a vision strong enough to support a merger and bring a preliminary report to the 2015 annual conference sessions. If a vision emerges that is worth pursuing, then I will assign another group to develop a concrete proposal for consideration at the 2016 annual conference sessions. Such a proposal would then be referred to the Western Jurisdictional Conference for action in July 2016. Only the jurisdictional conference can determine the boundaries of the annual conferences. If changes to conference boundaries were approved, they might take two more years to implement.
With each step is a new possibility of strengthening our ministry for Jesus Christ. This is an opportunity to be intentional about our future and living out our mission to be fruitful and faithful. I ask now that we continue to pray for our annual conferences, the members of the Shared Futures Committee and for our life-giving work ahead.
Bishop Elaine J. W. Stanovsky
Members of the Shared Futures Committee:
Bishop Elaine Stanovsky