Delegates get down to business at first session

At the opening worship of the 2012 General Conference Tuesday afternoon, delegates were challenged by Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster to leave their personal boats and follow Jesus — “to mend and fix the nets of United Methodism.”

At the first business session, they began the work that will enable them to fulfill that mission.

After welcomes by Goodpaster, who presided over the session, Florida Annual (regional) Conference Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker and delegates of the host Florida Conference, delegates spent the evening establishing the rules by which General Conference will operate.

Delegates proposed 18 amendments to the Plan of Organization and Rules of Order of the General Conference that must be considered by the Rules Committee and brought before the assembly at the next business session for vote.

Of note were proposals to keep recesses from being called for demonstrations or protests not approved by the body. A motion was also made to remove a rule that calls for any legislation not acted on by legislative committees by the end of the Saturday session the first week of the assembly to remain unfinished.

In other business:

  • Representatives from the Commissions on Religion and Race and Status and Role of Women reminded delegates of the global nature of the church, its diversity and the need to struggle against institutional biases so that all people may be equal participants in the work of the General Conference.
  • Alan Morrison, manager of the General Conference, reported that 4,700 people attended the opening worship service and nearly $16,000 and additional monies in foreign currency was given in an offering that will go toward Cornerstone Family Ministries, Imagine No Malaria and United Methodist missions in Laos.

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