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2007 Rocky Mountain Annual Conference

June 13-16, 2007, Denver

The Rocky Mountain Conference met at the Denver Marriott Tech Center Hotel, where the events center was transformed into a worshipful setting using lighting, projected images and creative stage settings.

At the opening communion service, Bishop Beverly Shamana of the California-Nevada Annual Conference used the image of "scrumbling" to illustrate the conference theme of "Making The Invisible Visible: Embracing Diversity, Racial Acceptance, Celebrating Inclusiveness." She explained that "scrumbling" is taking the leftover yarn, forgotten pieces of thread, knots and throwaways and knitting them together to make something creative and good. She said that scrumbling is a symbolic way to affirm a diversity that includes the marginalized and disenfranchised so that all of God's people are knitted together for the common good for all of God's people.

Other outstanding preaching included retired Director of Mission and Ministry Ron Hodges at the memorial service and Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr. at the ordination service. Bishop Brown delivered an animated updating of Luke 9:10-17, applying it to ministry. Interpreting for the deaf by the Rev. Sandi Johnson added an extra layer of meaning to these services.

Members heard from Kerry Greenhill, director of the new GraceWorks Community, on the Bishop's Young Adult Initiative, a service opportunity for young adults; from leaders of the Vision, Mission and Values Team, the Connectional Table and the Board of Stewards on the formation of the new conference structure; and from new Director of Mission and Ministry Skip Strickland on the Nothing But Nets campaign. They celebrated the missions work of many conference churches.

The conference approved a new plan, based on a tithing model, for funding the work of the conference. It also approved resolutions supporting victim assistance and restorative justice, global HIV/AIDS funding, persons with disabilities, and older adult ministries. It sent to the 2008 General Conference resolutions on connectional peacemaking; establishing a global AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis fund; and calling the U.S. government to honor treaties with Native Americans. Also approved were proposals to amend the United Methodist Constitution and the Book of Discipline to prohibit exclusion from membership based on gender, marital status, sexual orientation or gender expression, in addition to race, color, national origin and economic condition.

There were 10 retirees celebrated, 13 elders and two deacons ordained; 12 commissioned toward elder and two toward deacon. Lay speakers and Quiet Disciples were recognized and honored at the laity luncheon.

Of the many other awards, the Town and Country Committee recognized the Seven-Church Northeast Colorado Cooperative Parish for outstanding rural church ministry, and the Church and Society Network gave its Lifetime Peacemaker Award to Elinor Kirby Lewallen for "tireless and inspiring" lifetime leadership for peace with justice.

Lay delegates elected to the 2008 General Conference are: Josh Davies, Denver; Judy Hill, Joes; and Kunle Taiwo, Aurora.

Clergy delegates elected to General Conference are: Janet Forbes, Highlands Ranch (delegation chair); Youngsook Kang, Arvada; and Charles Schuster, Fort Collins.

Lay delegates elected to the Western Jurisdictional Conference are: Phil Cardin, Salt Lake City, Utah; Wendy Moffatt, Glenwood Springs; and Diana Huerta, Denver.

Clergy delegates elected to the Western Jurisdictional Conference are: Carolyn Waters, Centennial; Eric Smith, Greeley; and Olon Lindemood, Monument.

Membership stands at 67,907, up 592 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 32,562, down 528. Church school attendance stands at 10,953, down 275.

-Ben Roe