Two dozen resolutions to be considered and voted on at the 2015 Annual Conference, May 14-16, have been posted on the conference Website. They range from extensive revised Safe Sanctuary policies to advocacy positions on solitary confinement in prison, racial justice, fair wages, equitable state funding of schools and anti-Semitism. Included are resolutions to modify the UMC’s regard for and treatment of LGBTQ persons, and others affirming current policies and principles in the denomination’s Book of Discipline.
Administratively, members will vote on clergy compensation and change of appointment guidelines, as well as proposed new changes in health care plans and procedures for 2016. The voting body will ratify the closure of two churches but also consider continuing the experimental alignment of churches that are cooperating in ministry together through Mission Connections. Finally members will vote on a new crop of 24 church and community ministries seeking Advance Specials status to raise funds across the conference.
Six resolutions that should pass easily will be placed on a convenient Consent Calendar to be voted on as a group, unless debate is requested on any of them. Five others that relate to the 2016 General Conference will be dealt with first on Friday morning, as mandated by the last Annual Conference session.
Although the Council on Finance and Administration will present its 2015 financial report, its presentation and a vote on a 2016 conference budget will be delayed until a special Adjourned Conference session in November, when economic forecasts for 2016 are likely to be more accurate.
Members will have a full day to ponder proposed 2016 health care coverage changes before voting on them Saturday. While Annual Conference members must adjourn by 9 PM to vacate the facility, there will be no dinner service scheduled for Saturday evening.
Communications will attempt to report more on some selected resolutions and the issues they represent in future articles prior to Annual Conference.
–John Coleman, EPA Conference Communications Director
Photo: The Rev. Lloyd Speer, Eastern PA Conference Secretary, reads announcements during the 2014 Annual Conference. Speer’s job is to manage the written record of all the conference’s official proceedings, including debate on resolutions and elections.