WJ 2012: Summary

July 26, 2012

By Cate Monaghan
Director of Communications

Diane Knudsen, treasurer of the California-Nevada Annual Conference, was re-elected Western Jurisdictional Conference treasurer at July 18-20 meetings in San Diego.

Several members of Cal-Nev were named to General Boards and Agencies of The United Methodist Church:
  • Randall Miller (lay), head of the Cal-Nev 2012 General Conference Delegation, to the General Board of Church and Society
  • The Rev. Motoe Yamada, pastor of Japanese UMC in Sacramento, to the General Board of Discipleship
  • Emily Allen (lay), to the General Commission on Communication
  • The Rev. Dale Weatherspoon, pastor of The Good Samaritan UMC in Cupertino, to the General Commission on Religion and Race
However, the Committee on Nominations failed to fill 18 jurisdictional committee vacancies when it presented a slate (based on lists submitted by Annual Conferences) that was lacking in diversity.
 
The Rev. Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, a member of the California-Nevada Annual Conference and dean of Drew Theological School, expressed his "serious concerns" about the process.
 
"To present and vote on a list for our jurisdictional conference committees that is 80% white does not represent who we are and [our] values," he argued. Kuan moved that the body reject the entire nominations slate and require Annual Conferences to submit new lists of nominees. The College of Bishops would be responsible for filling the vacancies. The motion was approved, though the body agreed to two exceptions:
 
The Episcopacy Committee was excused from the re-do because its composition is pre-determined (it is comprised of first-electeds), and the portion of the report dealing with the Nominations Committee was approved as submitted, since that committee's work would end following action on its report by the 2012 WJC.
 
Randall Miller was tapped to chair the Episcopacy Committee.
 
David Valera, Pacific Northwest Annual Conference director of connectional ministry, reacted by saying, "I am very proud to be in a jurisdiction where we put our money where our mouth is."
 
Speaking of money – delegates approved a $1,127,000 jurisdictional budget, with $713,500 going to programs and $413,500 set aside for administration. Approval was unanimous. The conference also approved a petition encouraging each of the Annual Conferences in the West to form task forces to work to oppose mass incarceration, and calling for the establishment of services for all those in the criminal justice system who are suffering from mental illness.
 
The final day of the conference opened with prayer for the victims of the Aurora, Colorado massacre, offered by Bishop Elaine Stanovsky.
 
"Precious children of a loving God died violently last night in Aurora, Colorado. Each life taken is a reminder of God's amazing and limitless love and grace, and the tragedy of just one person who wanders off into the darkness of fear and hate," she said.
 
"And so we pray: God, you create a beautiful world. And you give breath to all who breathe. Thank you for every unrepeatable moment of life that we receive. Thank you for the miracle that each moment of every life is. Pick up and carry each one who fell to a gunman's violence last night. Send your healing mercy to those who were harmed. And shine a light into the darkness where James Holmes wanders lost, and lead him even now on a path of peace."
 
Later, delegates approved a statement expressing their deep sadness and saying, "We pray for all families who are affected by the tragedy, including the shooter and his family, and all those in the community.
 
The statement continued, "We recognize the brokenness of mind and spirit in our world, and we stand with faith communities throughout the world speaking out against violence and heed God's call to end violence. We pledge, in the name of the Living God and in the name of Christ, the Prince of Peace, and we raise our voices with the Spirit's cry for nonviolence, justice, healing, and peace for all the peoples of the world."
 
For more information and photos and videos from the Western Jurisdictional Conference, visit http://westernjurisdictionumc.org (click on the "News" tab, then on "2012 Western Jurisdictional Conference News") and www.Facebook.com/wjumc.