October 19, 2021
Dear Delegates of the North Central Jurisdictional Conference,
We look forward to gathering with you at the upcoming special session of the North Central Jurisdictional Conference on November 10 and 11, 2021. We are in prayer for you, our bishops and all who will provide leadership for this special session.
The NJC College of Bishops has assembled three task groups to help prepare and facilitate conversations on three vital topics: (1) dismantling racism, (2) episcopal leadership, and (3) the future of The United Methodist Church. Each of these group will be helping to support the delegates through presentations and facilitated small-group discussions.
We have been asked to plan the conversations on the future of The United Methodist Church. Our hope is that out of these conversations, the delegates will adopt a covenant that will guide the work and ministry of the North Central Jurisdiction (NCJ) going forward. Here are the details:
A Covenant Writing Team
We will create a Covenant Writing Team of six delegates who will draft this covenant on Wednesday evening. The NCJ Mission Council is assembling the heads of our Annual Conference delegations to serve as a selection committee to designate the six delegates who will serve as the Covenant Writing Team. The writing team will convene following our Wednesday sessions, review delegate input through the small-group discussions, polling feedback, and delegate responses to pre-work questions. The writing team will then draft a covenant representing the voices of the delegates. After the writing team has done its work, seated delegates will discuss and vote on the covenant on Thursday morning. This will be a credentialed vote of jurisdictional delegates.
As Paul White mentioned in his letter last week, we have prepared pre-work for the delegates to engage prior to our meeting. The reason for doing this work ahead of time is to give you the greatest opportunity for input given the limitations of a virtual gathering. The pre-work will impact the questions for the smallgroup discussions on the future of The United Methodist Church and resource the work of the Covenant Writing Team and the shaping of the covenant. The pre-work will include the following:
- Future of The UMC Questions: A set of questions about the future of the church designed by the Connectional Table of The United Methodist Church. These questions are designed to address identity, mission and vision. The Connectional Table will gather answers to these questions from around the connection, compile results, and issue a report in the Spring of 2022. The hope is to give us all a picture of who we are becoming as a church going forward. We also will use our answers to these questions to shape our covenant for the NCJ.
Future of The UMC Pre-Work Questions on Identity, Mission and Vision:
**How would you describe the values of the (future) UMC? (identity)
**What is God calling The United Methodist Church to do more of? (mission)
**What would make being a United Methodist even better? (vision)
- Future of the NCJ Questions: In addition to questions about the denomination will be a set of questions about the future of our jurisdiction. There also will be a question that will provide the opportunity for delegates to offer supplemental information to the writing team.
- Your answers to the pre-work questions about the jurisdiction will help to shape the polls that will be used in the small-group discussions at the conference. Note that your answers to all of these questions, as well as feedback from the small-group discussions, will resource the Covenant Writing Team. Please also note that this covenant will be designed to guide the ministry of the future NCJ of The United Methodist Church.
Future of the NCJ Pre-Work Questions:
* Based on what you have said about the values of the future United Methodist Church, what should be the top five priorities upon which the NCJ should focus in the next 2-5 years?
* What should the NCJ accomplish in the next two to five years to fulfill these priorities?
* Anything else you’d like to contribute to supplement the work of the Covenant Writing Team?
Note that if delegates wish to suggest a specific action of the jurisdiction, it would be helpful to include who would be responsible for taking that action.
All of the raw data from the pre-work questions will be put in a document and made available to all delegates by the time of the conference through email and the NCJ webpage. This information will be password protected, and names and annual conferences will be removed before it is posted.
Who Can Participate:
Delegates to jurisdictional conference and alternates may participate in the pre-work and small-group discussions. For the credentialed vote on Thursday, only seated delegates may participate.
Below is the link and password for the pre-work. In order for your responses to be included in the full discussion and writing process please complete the online response form no later than 11:59 pm on Thursday November 4.
Respond to pre-work at http://www.ncjumc.org/ncj-2021-delegates-pre-work-page. The password is “Asbury-2021” which should not be shared with non-delegates.
To complete this form by 11:59pm on Thursday November 4
We look forward to gathering with you in a few weeks. We continue to hold you and this gathering in our prayers. Don’t forget that the deadline for registration for the conference is October 31, 2021. The deadline for the pre-work is November 4, 2021.
Bishop Laurie Haller, NCJ College of Bishops Rev. Ryan Russell, Chair Mission Council Rev. Curtis Brown, Directors of Connectional Ministries Representative, Mission Council Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai, Delegate and Co-Chair, Michigan Delegation
Cc: Bishop David Bard, President of the College of the NCJ, Paul White, Secretary of the NCJ