Conference Affiliation: Mountain Sky

Education:
2023, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Certificate, Cornell University
2002, M.Div., Iliff School of Theology, Colorado
1999, B.A., Economics, Western State College, Colorado

Ministry Experience:
Ministry Experience:
Dean of the Cabinet, Mountain Sky Conference, 2022-present
District Superintendent, Colorado Front Range District, 2020-present
Co-Lead Pastor, St. Luke’s UMC, Highlands Ranch, Colorado, 2016-2020
Interim Pastor, St. Paul’s UMC, Denver, Colorado, 2015-2016
Pastor, Cameron UMC, Denver, Colorado, 2010-2016
Pastor, Lamar UMC, Lamar, Colorado, 2008-2010
Associate Pastor, Arvada UMC, Arvada, Colorado, 2002-2008
Student Chaplain, Hospice of Metro Denver, 2000

Connectional Table, WJ Representative, 2022-present
General Conference Delegate, 2020/2024
Financial Administration Sub-Committee Chair, 2020/2024
Board of Directors, Methodists Helping Methodists Foundation, 2023-present
Jurisdictional Conference Delegate & General Conference Reserve Delegate, 2016 & 2019
Board of Directors, United Methodist Communications, 2012-2016
Board of Ordained Ministry, 2008-2020
Chairperson, 2018-2020
Chair, Conference Relations, 2011-2018
Chair, Residency in Ministry Program, 2008-2011
RMC Clergy Young in Ministry Academy Design Team, 2014-2018
RMC Conflict Transformation Team, 2012-2018
Exploration 2013, Workshop Presenter
General & Jurisdictional Conference Clergy Delegate, 2012
Western Jurisdiction Nominations Committee, 2012

Community and Ecumenical Involvement:
Qualified Administrator, IDI (Intercultural Development Inventory), 2021-present
Ecumenical Ministries, Inc. UMC Representative, 2020-present
Together Colorado Metro Denver Caucus, 2020-2023
S. Pearl St. Business Association member, 2010-2016
Interfaith Alliance of Colorado Church Partner, 2012-2016
Parent-Teacher Association, McKinley-Thatcher Elementary School, 2012-2016
Vice President, 2014-2016; President, 2012-2014; Treasurer, 2011-2012
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, All Options Counselor, 2010-2017
Board of Directors, Kids Discover Days Preschool, 2004-2008

Age/Number of Quadrennia Eligible to Serve: 5


What would you identify as the top 5 essential leadership qualities for a bishop in the West?
The top five essential leadership qualities for a bishop in the west include a prophetic voice, strategic systems thinker, leadership development, permission giving, and adaptability and resiliency.

The West has often served, intentionally and unintentionally, as the prophetic voice for the denomination in naming injustice and oppression, speaking truth to power and hierarchy, creating space for marginalized voices, and asking whose voices are missing from the conversations. A prophetic bishop is a risk taker, willing to step into difficult and uncomfortable situations in order to advocate and fight for justice and inclusion.

The bishop has responsibility to understand and lead the systems in which they serve. This includes an understanding of the UMC connectional structure, to the degree that one can lead through the confines and boundaries with creativity and adaptability. A strategic systems thinker is an expansive thinker, with an ability to forecast both short and long term goals and realities, and an ability to think and lead beyond the current realties of the church.

Leadership development of laity and clergy is going to be essential for the church to remain relevant in the coming decades. Creating natural entry points for leadership and membership at all levels of church life, breaking down barriers, and creating a culture of call within the church and denomination are needed at this time.

Bishops who are permission giving create environments where experimentation is valued, failure is understood as learning opportunities, and entrepreneurialism is recognized as an asset. Permission giving leaders take risks and encourage others to be risk takers, and are not confined by current models, paradigm and systems that are outdated or no longer relevant.

Adaptability and resiliency will be a must for bishops as the denomination works through the growing pains of regionalization and its new identity as an inclusive church. This includes non-anxious leadership, an ability to pivot and adapt when needed, an ability to lead through anxiety and change without being tied to the outcome when circumstances have changed, and an ability to recognize what is within and outside one’s ability to control.

These five essential leadership qualities will help the West lead the UMC through the next quadrennium of changes as we discover what it means to be United Methodist post GC 2020/2024.

Describe an impactful experience you have had with a bishop.
Bishop Karen Oliveto invited me to serve as a District Superintendent in 2020. In that role, I had the pleasure of working with Bishop Karen closely, and engaging in countless conversations about ministry and the role of pastor, superintendent and bishop.

Bishop Karen often talks about the ministry role of clergy, the superintendents and the bishop as a ministry of vomit. When Bishop Karen uses the phrase, she even holds her hands out as if ready to catch someone’s vomit. It’s a colorful expression of a sacred role and responsibility.

We are tasked with being present and willing to catch the vomit people need to express. The pain and trauma, the joys and celebrations, the questions and curiosities, the doubts and misgivings; being present in the raw and real moments so that people know they are loved and supported.

For the last eight years, Bishop Karen has done this for the denomination. She has held her hands out and received more vomit than anyone could imagine. From death threats to being personally blamed for every issue in the United Methodist Church, to being the target of countless articles misquoting her words and actions.

From youth and adults on the verge of self-harm reaching out to her for a word of grace, to requests for speaking engagements because her presence means something to people.

Bishop Karen has been on the receiving end of a very explosive vomit ministry for eight years, and throughout that time, she has never wavered in her ability to offer grace. Bishop Karen is grounded in grace and has offered grace in a way I’ve seen very few people capable of.

I will forever remember this imagery of vomit ministry, and the sacred role of pastors and leaders to be willing to stand with people through the worst and best moments, with open hands, willing to catch what is thrown at us, and helping people move through those moments to life abundant.


Endorsement (First Endorsement)

As the Colorado Front Range District Lay Leader, I, Alli Moore, wholeheartedly endorse Jessica for bishop. As a 30-year old queer-identifying lesbian, I’ve found it hard to be excited about the church. Truth be told, I was surprised Jessica asked me to consider being a District Lay Leader. But Jessica’s vision for the future of the church, emphasis on diverse voices and perspectives, and capacity for collaborative leadership is reinvigorating our congregations and redefining what it means to be a young adult in the UMC. I have worked with Jessica for the last three years and have witnessed her unique gift for fostering connections within our diverse district. With her dedication to utilizing the IDI and her emphasis on cultural competency in congregations, she is transforming the way our churches relate to one another. Jessica educates and empowers different cultural communities in shared spaces to create a stronger sense of belonging. She also trained our DCOM in cultural competency so that we can better understand our candidates and what makes them effective leaders. Jessica is doing the work to bring about a more inclusive, more equitable, and more relevant UMC, and I am confident that she will continue to do so as bishop.


Endorsement (Second Endorsement)

I am Rev. Lynn Miller Jackson, DS for the Montana West District of the MSC. I have known Jessica for almost ten (10) years. I have served with Jessica as she chaired the Board of Ordained Ministry and currently as she serves as Dean of the Cabinet and GC/JC delegate. Through the years, I have consistently witnessed her effectively lead local churches, and in conference level and jurisdictional roles. A gifted pastor, preacher and administrator, Jessica is an adaptive leader who is able to see the big picture and attend to details. Jessica is an active listener and strategic thinker who is open to engage challenging and comforting ideas and conversations. She is self-aware and attends to her personal inner work recognizing how this impacts the outer work of justice and mercy that is integral to her call. She adeptly invites others into dialogue for broader and deeper views and understanding. Jessica is also open to visioning with others to identify and embrace what the Holy Spirit calls for now as well as working toward the future. Jessica brings skills, ideas, and collaborative energy that will be instrumental in shaping the body of Christ we are becoming as the UMC. I am honored to endorse Jessica for the episcopal office.


Endorsement (Third Endorsement)

Rev. Jessica Rooks exemplifies what our jurisdiction and denomination need from episcopal leadership. She is a servant leader, known for exceptional follow through, that honors the role of the Spirit in administration. She excels in communication and brings many voices into decision making. As a superintendent, she remains grounded in the lives of congregations & shows up to be with others in ministry. She shows up in moments of injustice in society, recognizing that praxis creates change and presence matters.

Jessica doesn’t shy from the difficult work of ministry, bringing strength and grace that transform conflict into growth. She leads our conference in conversations of identity & difference. She has served at every level of the church— never touting her resumé, but using learnings and experiences to better follow her call.

Jessica's healthy boundaries and active self care give her the wherewithal to not only survive the episcopacy, but thrive in it. In over 20 years in ministry together, long before the episcopacy was a possibility, I have always known this role was part of how God gifted her to serve.

Rev. Brad Laurvick (he/him), FUMC Fort Collins, CO
General Conference Delegate '04, '12, '16, '19

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