“I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.”
— John Wesley, Covenant Prayer
In what feels a bit like the reception of a golden ticket to visit Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, 11 people from the California-Pacific Annual Conference have received an invitation to attend the UMC Next gathering in Kansas City at Church of the Resurrection. We will be joining 10 delegates from each of the 54 Annual Conferences in the United States, along with additional bishops and general secretaries, for a total of 600.
In our efforts to de-mystify the process, we, as a delegation, have agreed to share as openly and often as we are able about the work. Each delegate has shared their name and story of how they have become followers of Christ who also believe in the wide-open and inclusive love of God. You’ll find a post for each delegate on this site. We will continue to post here, so as to bring to light the work and invite ongoing conversation.
Adam Hamilton is convening this event in response to General Conference 2019, and he wrote about the sessions preceding this conference here.
It is clear that the work ahead of us will be lengthy. Because the UMC Next Conference is designed to bring together Centrists and Progressives (and any who oppose the Traditionalist Plan), there will be a variety of goals, intentions, and views present.
We believe that the Centrists will feel that their work is done much sooner than Progressives do. Let us give each other the grace to understand that we will have different finish lines. We also acknowledge that “centrist” and “progressive” are terribly limiting terms, which are incomplete and often misleading. That said, it is the vocabulary typically used to describe the voices in the room. We will make use of them so as to accurately reflect the conversations and positions as they become clear.
In all of this, we ask for your prayers and for your grace. We will stumble and falter. We will move slowly. We might even move too quickly. But, we are working together to bring about the church that we’ve dreamed of seeing in our lifetime: one in which there is room at the table for all.
Believing all things, Hoping all things, Enduring all things,
Your Cal-Pac UMC Next Delegation
Rev. Denyse Barnes, Hollywood UMC; Cal-Pac LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Coordinator
Rev. Cedrick Bridgeforth, Grace UMC Los Angeles
Rev. Jonathan Chute, Rolling Hills UMC
Rev. Vilma Cruz, La Plaza UMC
Rev. Dan Lewis, Grace UMC Long Beach
Rev. Mandy McDow, Los Angeles First UMC
Rev. Jeania Ree V. Moore, General Board of Church and Society
Rev. Dr. Mary Elizabeth Moore, Boston University
Rev. Brent Ross, Normal Heights UMC
Pastor Mark Stephenson, Hollywood UMC, Toluca Lake
Monalisa Tuitahi, Santa Ana UMC