Worldwide Nature at GC2012

Translate Page

At this General Conference, the need for more change about our worldwide nature has become very apparent to more and more people. The increased number of Central Conference delegates and their desire for greater inclusion is the way of the future. We can no longer behave like we are a United States Church with a few, small foreign outposts. Until we make some significant adjustments, we will be faced with confusion and difficulties. That has become more apparent this time.

I am still convinced that the constitutional amendments defeated in 2010 are the right way forward. Several delegates who opposed their approval have come to me this week and said they have changed their minds. They now see the wisdom of the way forward proposed by the Council of Bishops and Connectional Table.

This General Conference has approved two small but significant steps forward and received a global model for conversation.

The first step is the adoption of a Covenant. The Study Committee hopes this covenant will shape our hearts and minds and will bring greater mutual understanding and respect. There is a litany that can be used in annual conferences, central conferences, jurisdictional conferences and local churches. The more we ponder these words, the more our awareness will be raised.

The second step was the adoption of a proposal that has been called a Global Book of Discipline. Petition 20407 is actually a first step toward that goal. As amended, it says that parts I-IV are not subject to adaptation by Central Conferences. The Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters, in consultation with the Committee on Faith and Order, will bring suggestions about which paragraphs of part V are to be listed here. Once that list is complete, it would be possible to publish a global Book of Discipline. It is also possible that Parts I-IV could be published in other languages immediately, and I have heard some ideas floated for that purpose.

Part I is the Constitution. Part II is Doctrinal Standards and Our Theological Task. Part III is the Ministry of All Christians. Part IV is the Social Principles.

The third step is contained in our report on pages 1276-77 of the Advanced Daily Christian Advocate, volume 2 section 2. It is a global model for the future. The Study Committee believes that it is premature to act on this model, but we hope that the Global Book of Discipline and more conversation will prepare the way for action in 2016.


Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

UMNEWS-SUBSCRIPTION
Theology and Education
Dr. David N. Field Photo courtesy of the author.

Book offers clarity on United Methodist doctrine

‘Faith Working Through Love,’ produced by the Committee on Faith and Order, sets the record straight about United Methodist beliefs and how those beliefs shape lives.
Church Leadership
The Rev. D.G. Hollums. Photo courtesy of the author.

Is this a time for innovation within The United Methodist Church?

Taking an example from how director George Lucas’ vision helped revolutionize the film industry, the Rev. D.G. Hollums asks whether a pending split is an opportunity to reimagine the denomination.
Local Church
The Rev. Derrek Belase. Photo courtesy of the author.

A church closing that hits home

The Rev. Derrek Belase, director of connectional ministries for the Oklahoma Conference, shares the emotions he’s feeling as he prepares for the closing of the United Methodist church where he grew up.