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2017 Rocky Mountain Annual Conference

 

The 49th session of the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church was held June 15-18 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center Hotel in Denver, Colorado. This was the first Rocky Mountain Annual Conference Session for Bishop Karen Oliveto, who oversees the Mountain Sky Episcopal Area.

The quadrennial theme for the Mountain Sky Episcopal Area is “Living into Beloved Community.” Bishop Oliveto believes that “Beloved community is the tangible, visible, here and now experience of God’s realm.” Her hope is “that we in the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference will live into beloved community so boldly that every church will be a beacon of love and justice.”

The 2017 Annual Conference focused on the Matthew 25 scripture: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink.” The Rev. Alexia Salvatierra gave the keynote address on this year’s theme, encouraging the body to advocate, protect and defend the vulnerable in the name of Jesus. Delegates and guests learned about food and water insecurity happening in our communities through community café panels and during an afternoon of service June 16 called the Ministry Immersion Project.  The Ministry Immersion Project sent more than 700 participants across the Denver area to volunteer at various sites that included the Food Bank of the Rockies, Denver Urban Matters, Sprout City, Grow Local and The Land.

Bishop Oliveto gave inspiring sermons at the opening and closing of the 2017 Rocky Mountain Annual Conference, renewing in the body their call for ministry. “When we love each other deeply with mercy and with grace, others will witness the vibrancy of our faith, the boldness of our love and the richness of our common life and will want to become a part of it,” she said.

More highlights from the 2017 Rocky Mountain Annual Conference Session:

  • Memorial service: The sermon was given by the Rev. Melanie Rosa, outgoing superintendent for the Mile High/Pikes Peak District. We remembered 21 clergy and clergy spouses.
  • Retirees: 17 retiring clergy were honored and celebrated for their service, representing a total of 422.75 years of ministry.
  • Celebrated 20 years of the Order of Deacons.
  • At the Ordination and Commissioning Service, 14 pastors were licensed, 8 clergy were commissioned (6 elders, 2 deacons) and 6 clergy were ordained (5 elders, 1 deacon).
  • The young people of the Rocky Mountain Conference were more visible and took a more active role in the 2017 session. More than 50 youth and young adults served as lay equalization members. The youth presented a resolution on “Standing United and Embracing our Differences,” which was adopted.
  • Members of the Rocky Mountain Conference continued to exhibit abundant generosity in their response to the annual conference offerings.
    • Hunger Free Colorado: $2,462.49
    • Clergy Covenant Fund: $3,784.85
    • Bridge of Love for World Hunger and Poverty Advance #982920: $6,762.35
    • Crossroads Urban Center: $3,629.01
    • Rod Anderson Lay Scholarship Fund: $1,044.99
  • Total amount given at annual conference was $17,683.69

During the business of annual conference, the following legislation was voted on:

Constitutional Amendments: The Rocky Mountain Conference heard from the General Conference delegates, who presented the amendments. Results will not be reported until next annual conference.

Two petitions to close two United Methodist Churches –James Memorial and Mesa – were passed.

The majority of petitions were passed through legislative sessions. Those were included in Consent Calendar A, which was adopted. Included were 9 petitions and the Conference Standing Rules and Operational Procedures.

Consent Calendar B included petitions that did not pass during legislative sessions. Those petitions came before the entire body to be voted upon. Consent Calendar B was adopted.

Conference statistics:

  • Membership:  57,117, down 1,488 from the previous year
  • Worship attendance:  26,217, down 970 from the previous year
  • Church (Sunday) school attendance: 6,262, down 260 from the previous year
  • Professions or reaffirmations of faith: 1,263, down 99 from the previous year
  • Adults and young adults in small groups: 22,989, down 1,469 from the previous year
  • Worshippers engaged in mission: 24,143, up 2,122 from the previous year

In 2018, the Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone annual conference will hold a joint annual conference session in Ogden, Utah, June 7-10 Watch the invitation video online.

--Charmaine Robledo, director of communications Mountain Sky Area