• TopekaFirstUMC

Leadership Council Update

Updated: Aug 13, 2019

People connected to our United Methodist Church and the denomination more widely have likely seen, read, and heard many conversations following February’s Special General Conference discussing human sexuality and United Methodist Discipline. Our congregation, like most, is divided in this conversation. We are not done with the conversation here and this issue is not settled in the United Methodist Church. Through all of this, Leadership Council has been and is grappling with what we, as a church, should do and how we can best lead in this season.


Some members of our congregation formed an advocacy group called Moving Ahead because it believed that Leadership Council was too silent and not progressive enough in denouncing the Traditional Plan. This group is planning informative programs available to all members of our congregation supportive of the Moving Ahead goals. Leadership Council, on the other hand, represents the whole congregation; it is developing programs that provide information supportive of different sides of the issue, with the end goal that we as a congregation can discuss where we want our church to go.


In this spirit, Leadership Council is supporting the Tempero Sandall committee’s August 25 workshop on civil discourse. This workshop, led by Kansas State Professor Dr. David Procter, is free to all members of our congregation, will provide thoughtful tools for each of us to use when we engage in difficult conversations, and will help each of us in our daily lives.  I encourage you to sign up for the free lunch and workshop.


Additionally, in July, I appointed a Task Force, whose purpose is to provide informative programs to our congregation. These programs will explore human sexuality, Biblical interpretations, and historical perspectives of the United Methodist Church. Leadership Council unanimously approved the members of the Task Force. These members are broad-based in their views on the issue before us but united in their commitment to engage all members of our congregation. I am extremely proud of and confident in the abilities of the five who agreed to dedicate many hours to this process. Chairing the Task Force is Laura Lutz, who is also Chair-elect of Leadership Council. Other dedicated members on the Task Force are Scott Beck, Bette Morris, Will Naeger, and Tyler Tenbrink. Please pray for this team and support their efforts by attending the informative programs resulting from their collaboration. They are truly following Pastor Jeff’s admonition to be Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.


Grace and Peace,


Richard Ross,

Chair, Leadership Council

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