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Michigan Prays Forward

The UMC is Praying our Way Forward. Let’s enfold Michigan’s 2019 delegation in our daily devotions.

Senior Editor-Writer, Michigan Conference

United Methodists around the globe are now engaged in Phase 3 of the Praying our Way Forward effort.

Phase 3 began June 3 and continues through the Special Session of the General Conference in February 2019. Every United Methodist is encouraged to pray for four minutes every day at 2:23-2:26 am or pm in their own time zone. That particular time was chosen because the 2019 General Conference will be in session February 23 through February 26.

In addition, a weekly fast (from food, social media, email, or other daily activity) is suggested from Thursday after dinner to Friday mid-afternoon.

Click here for a weekly calendar to help focus prayers. The delegates to the 2019 General Conference will be among those on the prayer calendar. Among them will be the Michigan Conference delegation. We list them here for additional prayer. They are listed in order of election. Note that Jurisdictional Conference clergy and lay delegates serve as alternates at General Conference.

Detroit Conference Clergy: Rev. Dr. Charles Boayue, Rev. Joy Barrett, Rev. Melanie Carey
Detroit Conference Laity: Jackie Euper, Wayne Bank, Diane Brown
Detroit Jurisdictional Conference Clergy: Rev. Megan Walther, Rev. Dr. Matthew Hook, Rev. Laura Speiran, Rev. Dr. Sherry Parker (alternate), Rev. Dr. Tara Sutton (alternate)
Detroit Jurisdictional Conference Laity: Alex Plum, Claudia Bowers, Ruby Anderson, Ruth Sutton (alternate), Isaac Garrigues-Cortelyou (alternate)

West Michigan Conference Clergy: Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai (for BIshop Laurie Haller)
West Michigan Conference Laity: Nichea VerVeer Guy
West Michigan Jurisdictional Conference Clergy: Rev. Benton Heisler, Rev. John Boley (alternate)
West Michigan Jurisdictional Conference Laity: Laurie Dahlman, Laura Witkowski (alternate), Anne Soles (alternate)

The West Michigan delegates were elected in 2014 for service at the 2016 General and Jurisdictional Conferences. Detroit Conference delegates were elected in 2015 for similar service. Both Annual Conferences voted to have 2016 delegations serve at the Special Session next year. The Rev. Charles Boayue and Nichea Guy serve as co-chairs of the combined delegation.

Nichea Guy explains that these delegates are currently designated “as elected by West Michigan Conference” and “as elected by Detroit Conference” but will be seated as a Michigan Delegation once in St. Louis. As they did in preparation for the 2016 General Conference, the delegations will be preparing for the 2019 Session together. They will meet twice (August and fall) with Bishop David Bard to walk through the process and issues The Council of Bishops engaged in while refining their recommendation to the Special Session.

While it is known that The Council of Bishops recommends the One Church Model, specific legislation from them and from others will become public in July. Delegates will then receive details from the Commission on General Conference about the process and petitions coming before the body.

Guy adds that the Michigan delegates will spend additional time together “working through our task, looking at all aspects of the issues and grounding ourselves for our work.” Delegates are studying a book recommended by the Commission on A Way Forward, “The Anatomy of Peace.” She notes that historically neither the Detroit nor West Michigan delegations have voted in a block. “We each vote our conscience.” While this is the first time the delegates have been called to prepare and to act on a single issue, Guy anticipates a good experience. “We did very well with our joint preparation in 2016 and got along beautifully together.”

Bishop David Bard offers this counsel to the Michigan Conference this summer, “Breathe. Pray. Cultivate a mind of wisdom and a heart of peace and love. Listen well. Speak gently.”


Key to Delegation photo: (L-r)
Front row: Diane Brown, Rev. Laura Speiran, Bishop Laurie Haller, Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey, Alex Plum, Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai, and Jackie Euper
Middle row: Claudia Bowers, Ruth Sutton, Rev. Meghan Walther, Rev. Dr. Tara Sutton, Laura Witkowski, Ruby Anderson, Nichea VerVeer Guy, Isaac Isaac Garrigues-Cortelyou
Back row: Rev. Joy Barrett, Rev. Benton Heisler, Anne Soles, Rev. Dr. Charles Boayue, Laurie Dahlman, Rev. John Boley, Rev. Melanie Carey, Rev. Matt Hook, Wayne Banks

Last Updated on January 12, 2023

The Michigan Conference