Mountain Sky Conference of The United Methodist Church:
What a blessing and honor it was to be part of the Western Jurisdiction meeting this past July as we elected Bishop Karen Oliveto to the Episcopacy! While this election was historic in nature, none the less, we clearly voted on the basis of her qualifications to lead our denomination.
Having been a delegate more than once, I have to say this past Jurisdiction meeting to this day inspires my heart and soul. There was an undeniable energy of Holy Spirit with us. There was unity and truly, throughout the entire process, were united in hope. It was what I dream our denomination could be. While certainly at the conclusion Bishop Oliveto had the vast majority of the votes, none the less it was not unanimous. And yet… there was no anger in the room. There was no judgment in the room. There WAS a sense of joy and jubilation. All hearts were moved; there were many tears of joy and gratitude not only for the outcome but HOW we got there. With grace. With discussion. With compromise. With consensus. A God-bump (like goose bumps) moment as they say.
And the consecration service that followed – to this day my heart is overwhelmed with joy. There truly, truly are no words that can adequately describe the undeniable presence of God in the sanctuary, in our hearts, in our minds. As we truly lived out open hearts, open minds, open doors… several hundred people came together as one. One in family, one in faith, one in the belief that our church, our denomination, can LEAD this troubled world for a better tomorrow. Many of us see Bishop Oliveto at the forefront of that endeavor. Her heart, her faith, her generosity ~ yes.
But what we really look forward to is the vision and leadership she will bring to all areas of our church, but especially so in giving face and voice to diversity and letting us know that we really are ALL, God’s children.
Billie K. Fidlin
Director of Outreach
Desert Southwest Conference
General Conference and Western Jurisdiction Delegate 2004, 2008, 2016