A video of the November 19, 2019 OSTF Town Hall meeting is now available. View the video here.
What is the Open Spirit Task Force?
The New England Annual Conference mandate to the Open Spirit Task Force is “to examine whether and how United Methodists of New England might align with, create, or form a new church body in the Methodist tradition (independently or in collaboration with others).” Read more about our work so far here.
11/02/2019: Overall Update from OSTF
10/31/2019: Update from Legal/Ethics/Structure Team
10/29/2019: Link to Wespath Proposed legislation for GC2020
10/25/2019: Update from Options-Organization Team
09/25/2019: Update from the Finance Team
09/20/2019: Update of Theology Spirituality Team
What you will find on this web site.
Five Teams are doing the work of the Open Spirit Task Force. You can explore the progress of each of the Teams by clicking on the menu items above. The work of the five Teams will be periodically posted on each of the Team pages.
In addition, you will find additional information on the “Resources” page. There you will find useful and informative material including press releases, additional materials supplied to the Task Force, and useful information which comes from other Annual Conferences from across the United Methodist Church.
Finally, if you wish to be in communication with the OSTF, you can send us an email by scrolling to the bottom of this page and sending an email from the form there, or you can use the “Contact Us” page.
Our Work So far…
Announcing the first phase of work is nearing completion. The Open Spirit Task Force with its five teams are drawing their initial work to a close this month. The teams have been asked to offer a summary of the essentials of what they have learned thus far about:
- The history of Methodism in New England
- The merger of the Conferences into New England Annual Conference
- The projected plans for pensions, health care and benefits
- How the trust clause effects the Conference
- The emerging national plans, proposals for reorganization of the denomination
- New England’s commitment to anti-oppression work (i.e., anti-racism, anti-discrimination including but not limited to people of color, women, LGBTQI+, immigrants, impoverished and other vulnerable people in our communities)
- What all of these mean for us in New England
Some of this was shared in a Conference wide Town Hall on November 19, 2019.
Desiring to be transparent, we are inviting interested individuals and congregations to join in focus groups to assist us in this work. Based on what we learn from congregations, working with the Conference Delegation, the Open Spirit Task Force will develop educational material that may be used in our communities of faith.
The second phase will begin with a joint Open Spirit Task Force and Conference Delegation joint retreat in January facilitated by a Conference Elder where we will begin to work on options to be presented either at a special called session of Conference or at our Annual Conference meeting in June.
The charge and purpose of the work of the Open Spirit Task Force is not to decide whether New England Annual Conference will remain Methodist. Our job is to offer options to the whole body of the Annual Conference on which we will pray, reflect and ultimately vote. The Open Spirit Task Force will propose; the Annual Conference will vote.
In all this, we are attending to our charge as faithfully as we can remembering the diversity of perspectives, contexts and beliefs. Even in this, the Holy Spirit binds us together in love.
Who we are:
- Maddie Akeley, Thornton Heights, TRI, ME, Lay
- Hannah Bell-Lambardo, Shepherd of the Valley, RIM, RI, Lay
- Tom Bentum, Gales Ferry, CWM, CT, Clergy
- Linda Brewster, Turtle Road UMC, TRI, ME, Clergy
- Adama Brown-Hathaway, Union, MBH, MA, Lay
- We Chang, District, MBH, MA, Clergy
- Sang Cho, St. John’s Korean, MBH, MA, Clergy
- Jinwoo Chun, Belfast, MME, ME, Clergy
- Christian De La Rosa, BUSTH, MBH, MA, Clergy
- Stephanie Finley, Community, MBH, MA, Lay
- Virginia Fryer, Bow Mills, NH, NH, Clergy
- Sara Garrard, Old West, MBH, MA, Clergy
- Becca Girrell, Lebanon, NH, NH, Clergy
- Wayne Griffeth-Hurst, Charleston, NME, ME, Lay
- Kathryn Johnson, Parkway, MBH, MA, Clergy
- Ross Johnson, St. Stephen’s, MBH, MA, Clergy
- Jacob Juncker, Franklin, CMA, MA, Clergy
- Nory Leachon, Pleasant St./St. Luke’s, NH, NH, Clergy
- Hope Luckie, Crawford UMC, MBH, MA, Clergy
- John Lucy, Jerico/Waterbury, VT, VT, Clergy
- Chico Martin, Champlain Islands, VT, VT, Clergy
- Shandi Mawokaomatanda, Wesley, CMA, MA, Clergy
- Lisa McColgan, Dalton, CWM, MA, Lay
- Breanne McFarland, FUMC Burlington, VT, VT, Lay
- Richard Morris, Sudbury, CMA, MA, Lay
- Ashley Murphy, Carter Memorial, CMA, MA, Clergy
- Pam Palm, Presque Isle, NME, ME, Lay
- Wes Palmer, Wells, TRI, ME, Clergy
- Mike Pike, Portsmouth, RIM, RI, Clergy
- Erica Robinson-Johnson, NEAC, NEAC, MA, Clergy
- Colin Simson, Crawford UMC, MBH, MA, Lay
- Abraham Waya, Central UMC, MBH, MA, Clergy
- Christy Wright, George Whitefield, CMA, MA, Clergy
- Adama Brown-Hathaway
- Hope Luckie
- Ashley Murphy
Representatives to the Steering Committee
- Jinwoo Chun
- Abraham Waya
Advisors to OSTF
- Rene Wilbur, Conference Lay Leader
- Jill Colley Robinson, Dean of the Cabinet
- Jay Williams, Head of the NEAC Delegation to GC2020 and JC2020