The 53rd Annual Meeting Calls the Conference to New Heights & Depths
352 members representing at least 82 congregations of the Minnesota Conference gathered at the College of St. Benedict in St Joseph last weekend for our 53rd Annual Meeting. The weekend was marked by warm fellowship, inspiring worship, essential business of the Conference, and spirited debate on resolutions. In several moments throughout the weekend the Conference was called to new heights and depths, as speakers implored us to wrestle deeply with significant issues of our day and to dare to “go deeper” in our relationships with one another.
Our time was highlighted by intentional dialogue about racism, following up on a resolution from last year’s Annual Meeting to more thoroughly engage in anti-racism training as a Conference. Dr. Jennifer Harvey , faculty at Drake University and author of “Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation”, invited us to a language and practice of “repentance and repair”, suggesting that the mainline Protestant Church’s emphasis on ‘racial reconciliation’ is not advancing the cause of racial justice.
Participants talked about Dr. Harvey’s comments in facilitated small group discussions and shared a number of questions and comments shared here. At the meeting and in conversations since Sunday’s adjournment, attendees have honestly struggled with the concrete implications of our discussion– individually, in our churches, and in our wider society. Many have asked, “Now what?” The Minnesota Conference UCC will provide additional resources and opportunities for wrestling with these questions in coming weeks and months. Stay tuned to COMMAntary and our website.
Other highlights of the 53rd Annual Meeting included:
• A “State of the Conference” address by Conference Minister Shari Prestemon reviewing our shared ministry in the Minnesota Conference over the last year and inviting all members to “Be the Church…Together!”. Read the entire presentation here: State of the Conference 2015
• The passage of two resolutions: 1) Calling the MNCUCC to declare itself a Fair Trade Conference (Revised Resolution No 1); and 2) Calling the MNCUCC to take action toward a Just Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (Revised Resolution No 2)
• A report from consultant Sandy Lindahl on findings from the Feasibility Study conducted during the last several months. Sandy’s Power Point is shared here: Campaign Feasibility Study.
• The production of an awesome video featuring nearly 30 people interviewed at Annual Meeting in response to the question, “What does “be the church” mean to you?” Check it out!
Watch in the coming weeks and months for more information on all of the above.