March 2024 Updates

Updates from the RMC Board of Directors

Greetings, all! 

The main thing: Here’s how we’re approaching this season of transition in the conference: 

As you know, following significant staffing upheavals of the last year+, the RMC Board called Rev. Erin Gilmore to serve as our Acting Conference Minister at least through the 2024 Annual Meeting this June. This has given the Board some space for a lot of discussion over the last few months around values, priorities, and practicalities for the in-between time we are currently in and are approaching. The Board has finally reached clarity on a few things for now – but many questions remain.

First, to avoid yet more upheaval, the Board intends to retain Rev. Gilmore through a transitional season of ministry, overseeing day-to-day functions while exploring more sustainable ministry practices. As a conference, we’ve talked for years about moving to more streamlined and collaborative ways of doing ministry. Our situation is now such that we are required to innovate and to act. We have no other choice but to develop new ways of carrying out conference functions as a conference. Moving from a multiple Conference Minister structure to something new (TBD) is uncharted territory, which can be scary. But it presents exciting opportunities, as well.

While ensuring this sustaining and innovating work is carried out, however, we recognize that we do need to name and process cultural and practical dysfunction. We believe that this kind of interim work is best led by people from outside the system. So, we envision that over the course of a transitional period, we will bring in interim ministers, as needed, on a consulting basis. This will be more affordable than searching for and installing a resident Interim CM. Likewise, we believe that working with a few specialists, rather than one individual, will provide a wider range of expert input. 

Those few things – that we are retaining Rev. Gilmore while planning to contract the services of interim consultants through a transitional season – are the only things I can say with confidence. 

The Board has authorized a 6-person team* to discern priority tasks, name a realistic timeline, and address practical questions that emerge. As we start to gain clarity, we’ll be in occasional conversation with Rev. Gilmore and will meet with Association Moderators and representatives for their input. We expect those discussions to take several weeks. With feedback from across the conference, we’ll present a proposal to the Board. The Board will refine and present their proposal to the conference for the full membership to consider and ratify. It’s possible we’ll have that in time for the Annual Meeting, but we’re more concerned about doing the work faithfully than with getting it done by a particular date.

The idea of all this is to provide the support we need to face the challenges ahead. Again, I don’t know how long this transitional season will be (stay tuned!), but I’m thankful we’re all on this journey together.

* The Board’s discernment team is: MaryEllen Beltracchi, Vice Moderator; Karen Caton, Western Association; Sarah B. Linn, Moderator; Adam McCoy, Personnel Chair; Allyson Stauffer, Creation Justice League; Ian Wrisley, Racial Justice Team.

Two Other Things:

  • On Feb. 21, we received a response from UCC President and General Minister Rev. Dr. Karen A. Georgia Thompson and UCC Board Chair Julia Gilmore Gaughan re: our letter of complaint concerning the conduct of the former national search and call coordinator. They don’t acknowledge any measure of fault on national’s part or plan to take any action. They consider the matter closed.
  • The RMC office building is once again under contract – fingers crossed that the buyers get their small business loan, which is the only remaining obstacle to closing in April. 

As always, I welcome your prayers for all those involved in leading us into and through this season. Thank you for your care and commitment to the members and ministries of the Rocky Mountain Conference!

Peace to you,

Rev. Dr. Sarah B. Linn
Moderator, RMC Board of Directors