Every four years the United Methodist Church has up to 1000 laity and clergy delegates elected from every annual conference in the world meet to update our Book of Discipline and the Book of Resolutions. This year they met April 24-May 4 in Tampa, Florida.
Here are some of the highlights addressed this year:
- Passed a proposal to restructure at the highest level of the church but it was ruled unconstitutional by the Judicial Council;
- Celebrated an Act of Repentance toward indigenous people pertaining to actions over a century ago;
- Retained the church’s position regarding homosexuality, deciding not to adopt language that would have said United Methodists are not of one mind on this issue;
- Did away with “guaranteed appointments” for clergy;
- Rejected a proposal for setting aside a bishop to serve as full-time president of the Council of Bishops;
- Entered into full communion with a number of historically black pan-Methodist denominations;
- Approved making the United Methodist Women an autonomous organization rather than operating it under the church's missions agency;
- Created a national ministry plan for Pacific Islanders;
- Adopted a $603.1 million budget for the 2013-2016 period; and
- Decided not to divest from three companies whose products are used by the Israeli military in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The delegates, from more than 60 nations, processed some 1,200 petitions during the assembly. General Conference meets every four years and is the only body that speaks for the 13 million-member denomination.
The Book of Discipline contains our church’s constitution, Articles of Religion (faith statement), Social Policy, and polity for how we are structured at every level of the church.
You may find more information at the following web site: http://www.umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=8057055&ct=11742349
Next up in terms of major meetings is our North Texas Annual Conference which will meet June 3-5 in Plano. You may keep up with actions of Annual Conference, including life streaming of worship services at the conference web page, http://www.northtexasumc.org/2012-Annual-Conferences/home.html
Then on Sunday afternoon, June 10th, Camille and I will head to Nashville, TN where on Monday night Jessica Bridges, who grew up in our church, will be commissioned on the Deacon tract at the Tennessee Annual Conference. This will begin a provisional membership of a minimum of two years before she will be ordained as a Deacon.
See you Sunday in the place where it is a joy to worship God!