The Desert Southwest Annual Conference Special Session, authorized by vote at the regular session on June 2019, took place on September 14, 2019, at Gold Canyon UMC in Gold Canyon, Arizona. Rev. Fred Steinberg welcomed all in attendance following the official opening by Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata.

The spirit of the session was aspirational and heavy at times as individuals, members of the DSC Way Forward workgroups, and colleagues in ministry presented eight legislative items. The passion for Christ centered mission and ministry overflowed in emotional and compelling statements made by members. Technical issues caused interruptions in video streaming, but for all those present, nothing (not even a lightening strike that knocked out the video stream) deterred the courageous work being done through difficult conversations.

The Special Session adopted all of the Resolutions presented. The daily proceedings and full text of all the 2019 resolutions will be available at https://dscumc.org/ac.

I.Resolution: Adoption of Desert Southwest Conference Theological Statement
II.Resolution: Integrity of Faithfulness
III.Resolution: Respecting Cultural Differences
IV.Resolution: Preserve Our Connectionalism
V.Resolution: Renouncing Divisive and Destructive Strategies with Supporting
VI.Resolution: Dialogue with Central Conference Leaders
VIII.Resolution: Seeking to Protect Our Connection and Clergy
IX.Resolution: A Moratorium on Complaints, Investigations and Trials Against LGBTQ+ Clergy and those Clergy Officiating Same-Gender Weddings

Resolutions, which are different from Petitions, are legislative items that are aspirational and shape the year round work of the Annual Conference. In contrast, Petitions that are passed during an Annual Conference Session go to the Jurisdictional or General Conference for consideration.

Why did the Desert Southwest Conference have a Special Session full of Resolutions instead of Petitions?

The Special Session, which was authorized by vote at the regular June session of the Annual Conference, made it possible to pay close attention to the voices of the Annual Conference expressed through aspirational resolutions. Most petitions were considered during the regular session of the 2019 Annual Conference. Special Session offered another chance for all sides to respectfully come together, listen, and discern the way forward for the Desert Southwest Conference. With the Resolutions adopted at this Special Session, the body has spoken, and workgroups can continue their work to prepare for whatever may happen.

Bishop Bob clarified the purpose of the Special Session saying,

“It gives us the opportunity to go to the whole Church and say we in the Desert Southwest Conference stand for these values. These are the things we hold dear to us. This is what we hope for even as we keep hoping, praying, and working toward unity in our future. If something should happen in the life of our denomination, our work today has set a stage for ways in which we will look toward the future … Even though the denomination says one thing, we want you to know you are loved and we will welcome you in every way possible.”

Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata

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