Worldwide Nature at GC2012

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.

Sign up for our newsletter!

umnews-subscriptions
General Conference
On Jan. 3, a 16-member group of United Methodist leaders offered a proposal that would preserve The United Methodist Church while allowing traditionalist-minded congregations to form a new denomination. UM News will host a panel discussion on the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation proposal at 9:30 a.m. EST on Jan. 13. Graphic by Laurens Glass, UM News.

Video archive: UM News interviews protocol developers

Leaders who helped develop a separation plan for The United Methodist Church answered questions about their proposal during a live event Jan. 13.
General Church
Delegates pause for prayer at the 2019 special General Conference in St. Louis. A group of 2020 General Conference delegates and other church leaders from Africa, Europe and the Philippines is proposing a new form of unity. File photo by Kathleen Barry, UM News.

Delegates offer proposal for church unity

United Methodist leaders from Africa, Europe and the Philippines are offering a “Christmas Covenant” and inviting others to sign on.
General Conference

Church future under negotiation before GC2020

United Methodist leaders of varied perspectives on LGBTQ status struck an optimistic note about conversations that aim to find consensus before the next General Conference.