To help prepare you for the upcoming General ConferenceA Special Session of the General Conference of The UnitedMethodist Church will be held February 23-26, 2019 in St. LouisMissouri.
The General Conference is made up of 864 delegates(half lay and half clergy) from around the world. Forty percent ofdelegates are from outside the United States. The GeneralConference is the highest legislative body of The UnitedMethodist Church and the only body that can speak officially for thedenomination.The Florida Conference is represented by nine clergy and nine lay delegates.Please pray for our delegates and share your perspective with them byemailing email@example.com.The purpose of this General Conference is to receive and vote on a reportfrom the Commission on a Way Forward along with other legislation.
The Commission on a Way Forward was formed by the 2016 General Conferenceand asked to find a way forward for the church that would move us beyondthe current impasse related to human sexuality.
Discipline (BOD) states that all our churches are open to anyone, all peopleare welcome at the communion table and baptism fount, and all are personsof sacred worth and included in the ministry of Jesus. At the same time, theBOD considers homosexuality to be incompatible with Christian teaching anddoes not allow our clergy to perform same-sex weddings, our churches tohost same-sex weddings, or for LGBTQ persons to be ordained.
The Commission’s report includes three plans:
1) One Church Plan – removes the current BOD restrictions that do not allowclergy to perform same sex weddings, churches to host same sexweddings or conferences to ordain LGBTQ clergy. Adds in protectivelanguage that would ensure no one has to act against their convictions.Churches could continue to operate the same way they do now with novotes required. If churches wanted to host same-sex weddings it wouldrequire a church wide vote of approval. Bishops would work withchurches to appoint pastors that match their convictions.
2) Connectional Conference Plan – restructures the church to create threesmaller bodies (connectional conferences) within the denomination withtheir own Book of Discipline and rules around same-sex marriage andordination of LGBTQ clergy. One part of the church would continue thecurrent restrictions, another part would allow churches and clergy todecide, and a third part would require clergy and churches to perform orhost same-sex weddings. General Agencies would be reduced, and therole of the Council of Bishops would be redefined. Churches would havean opportunity to vote to choose which part of the church they wantedto be in if they disagree with the choice of their Annual Conference. Eachpart of the church would have its own unique name and logo.
3) Traditional Plan – keeps the current language around homosexuality andincreases accountability by streamlining the processes to enforcepenalties for violations of The Book of Discipline related to marriage andordination of homosexual persons. Those who cannot live within thecurrent Discipline requirements could create their own self-governingchurch that would be connected in some way to The United MethodistChurch.Each of these plans would need a majority approval by the GeneralConference and the Connectional Conference Plan would require a 2/3majority vote. It is possible that none of the plans will be passed, in whichcase the current Book of Discipline would remain. If a plan is passed, it wouldnot become official church law until January 1, 2020.If you have questions or concerns about the upcoming General Conference,please speak to your pastor or a lay leader. You may hear and read storiesabout the General Conference in the media. Be sure you are gettinginformation from a reputable source. We will have time to process thisGeneral Conference as a church. And no matter what, we will continue theimportant ministry we do in the community.You can follow the General Conference live stream at www.umc.org/gc2019.Bishop Carter will be preaching the opening service at 8:30 am on Sunday,February 24. For more information or to see a list of our Florida delegationgo to www.flumc.org/wayforward. Send any questions firstname.lastname@example.org. Bishop Carter will also host a webcast with Floridadelegation leaders on Friday, March 1 at 11:00 am to report on the results ofthis General Conference (link to join the webcast will be available at www.flumc.org )
We invite you to an informal gathering called "Coffee with the Pastors" on Sunday, March 3rd @ 10:40am or 12:10pm in room #13.
During our time together, we will enjoy coffee & pastries, meet other Asbury folks new & seasoned alike, & discuss how Asbury can help you deepen the love of Christ in the Christian Methodist way.
"To know the love of Jesus Christ and Pass it on”
220 W. Horatio Avenue Maitland, FL 407 644 5222