Holston's top 10 headlines of 2019: The struggle is real

Holston's top 10 headlines of 2019: The struggle is real

In 2019, we sent out 55 email editions of The Call featuring more than 400 news stories. If readers vote with their clicks, nine of our top 10 stories focused on General Conference and the denominational divide over homosexuality.
 
It's interesting to review Holston Conference's own struggle and division through the headlines below, even as the Traditional Plan went into effect January 1 and a new delegation prepares for another round of decisions at General Conference 2020.
 
Next week, The Call will share a New Year's conversation with the Rev. Jerry Russell, a retired pastor who hasn't stopped seeing collaboration possibilities between Methodists all over the world. He views 2019 as fruitful year for Holston Conference and 2020 as a threshold to hope. 
 
Annette Spence, editor

1. When the Traditional Plan passed
 
As General Conference 2019 approached, Holston communications staff set up a special reporting site at GCNews.blog. On the third day, the site registered the year's highest number of hits as delegates reacted to disaffiliation petitions and finalization of the Traditional Plan. (Feb. 25) Read the reports.
 
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2. LGBTQI members wrestle with church future 
 
They're hurt. Some have left already. Yet a group of Holston Conference members from the LGBTQI community have found reasons to stay with The United Methodist Church, despite the General Conference's recent vote to adopt the Traditional Plan. (May 9) Read the story.
 
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3. Holston delegates: What happened in St. Louis
 
Holston delegates returned home from St. Louis after a General Conference that failed to settle the denomination’s disagreements over human sexuality. “We are people who are hurting, and I don’t think it makes any difference how the final voting came out,” said the Rev. Kim Goddard. (March 7) Read the story.
 
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4. Forum speakers: Vote for the Traditional Plan
 
About 90 people attended a Jan. 12 forum to express their views to Holston Conference delegates who will soon vote on a future path for the denomination. Almost all who came to the microphone spoke against the One Church Plan and in favor of the Traditional Plan. (Jan. 16) Read the story.
 
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5. Prayer led to Traditional Plan, supporters say
 
Church members who supported the Traditional Plan express dismay that other United Methodists are unwilling to accept an outcome that didn’t align with their hopes. "Are our leaders so enlightened that they are totally oblivious to 12 million people praying for three years that God’s will would be done?” (March 25) Read the story.
 
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6. Young adults share hearts over 'way forward'
 
About 70 of 300 young adults attending Divine Rhythm met with Holston delegates to ask questions and share their dreams for the church's future. “The people who stood up were brave. They were concerned. Some I could tell were scared." (Feb. 7) Read the story.
 
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7. Groups with opposing views get prepared
 
Two groups of Holston United Methodists met separately this month to prepare for dramatic changes in the denomination that may result during General Conference 2020 next May. "I don’t want to play defense anymore. I want to play offense.” (Sept. 26) Read the story.
 
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8. AC members elect delegates, give to missions
 
The 2019 Annual Conference gave an offering of $129,733 to fight opioid addiction and $61,990 for children's ministry during the June 9-12 meeting. They also elected a younger delegation than in years past. Fifteen out of 26 delegates are 40 and under. (June 19) Read the story.
 
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9. Readers object to UMCNext participation
 
The Holston Conference Communications office received 89 email responses to a May 23 statement announcing the participation of 13 church leaders in a recently formed group, UMCNext. Almost all responses were critical. (June 6) Read the story.
 
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10. Meetings represent division in Holston
 
November 9 was a news-making kind of day, as Holston church members with opposing designs for the denomination’s future gathered at two separate events. The organizers were Wesleyan Covenant Association and Reconciling Ministries Network. (Nov. 13) Read the story.