The Eastern PA Conference delegation to the 2020 General & Jurisdiction conferences has postponed its remaining listening sessions, scheduled for April 2, 4, and 20, until further notice. The sessions will be rescheduled when the UMC’s global legislative assembly is rescheduled. They will occur at least two months prior to the new General Conference starting date.
The Eastern PA delegates agree with the General Conference leadership’s feeling that “a pause is needed at this unique time,” said delegation co-chair Judy Ehninger. “All are encouraged to continue in ministry, sharing God’s love and actualizing the church we are called to be.”
Ehninger recommends several ways to prepare for General Conference while awaiting the rescheduled dates:
You can now view online videos and related materials from each of the presentations given at the Pre-General Conference Briefing in Nashville on Jan. 23-24. The gathering offered an overview of various proposals heading to the 2020 General Conference. See videos and presentations. Foretaste of what’s on the table at GC2020.
This summary compares proposals from various groups, in alphabetical order, about the structure of The UMC. It does not include proposals from individuals. Further details are in the documents and legislation. All proposals will be open for amendments at General Conference and may be subject to Judicial Council review. Updated on 1/7/2020.
With the coronavirus disrupting lives worldwide, General Conference organizers determined they have no choice but to postpone The United Methodist Church’s top legislative assembly.
The Minneapolis Convention Center — scheduled to host the 2020 General Conference — announced it is now canceling gatherings of 50 or more people through May 10. The shutdown covers the first five days of the denomination’s 10-day meeting, which was set to draw 862 delegates, 66 bishops and others from four continents.
“This news is not unexpected based on the current guidance from health officials and we expect to move forward with new plans as quickly as possible,” Kim Simpson said in a statement. She is the chair of the Commission on the General Conference that plans the big meeting.
The commission’s executive committee, which met by teleconference March 18, decided the venue’s announcement meant that General Conference could no longer go forward May 5-15 as planned. However, commission members do not yet know how quickly they can announce new dates. Read story.
With COVID-19 upending General Conference plans, proposals to split the denomination are on hold.
However, the work of the church goes on — perhaps needed more than ever.
That’s the assessment of a number of church leaders following the announcement that public health concerns require postponement of the denomination’s top lawmaking assembly that was scheduled for May. New dates are still to be determined.
“I hope the delegates can use this time to completely forget about General Conference for a while, to be honest. That is certainly my plan!” said the Rev. Andy Bryan, Missouri Conference delegate and lead pastor of Manchester United Methodist Church in Missouri. Read story.
Editor’s note: Updated March 23 with announcement that General Conference will likely be 2021.
General Conference organizers are exploring potential new dates in 2021 for The United Methodist Church’s top legislative assembly after the coronavirus pandemic forced postponement.
The Commission on the General Conference determined that multiple factors meant it would not be feasible to reschedule to hold the international 10-day gathering this year.
“These issues include the undetermined length of the pandemic, uncertainty around travel bans in different areas of the world, delays in processing visas due to government and business closures and other questions,” Kim Simpson, commission chair, said in a statement.
At this point, the commission does not have specific dates to announce. Read story.
At General Conference, delegates gather from all over the world to consider revisions to church law and the official ritual of the church and to adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, explains how the legislative body makes decisions. Read story
A proposed new denomination, tentatively called the Liberation Methodist Church, got plenty of discussion at a UM-Forward event held March 6-8 in Dallas. Others attending said they still prefer to work within The United Methodist Church for a comprehensive social-justice-focused approach to ministry. Read story
The Michigan Conference voted 927-92 to send the protocol legislation, a plan for an amicable separation of The United Methodist Church, to the 2020 General Conference. Michigan, the third conference and the first U.S. conference to send the legislation to the denomination’s top lawmaking assembly, did not endorse the plan. Read story
The Sierra Leone Conference voted to be the second United Methodist annual conference to approve and send to the 2020 General Conference legislation for the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation, a plan for an amicable separation of the denomination. Read story
The UMC’s Connectional Table, which coordinates the work of its general agencies, has published its General Conference 2020 petition to create a U.S. Regional Conference along with supplementary materials. The CT collaborated with Wespath on the legislation and offers it publicly now to encourage open communication and inform delegations preparing for GC2020.
The legislation to create a U.S. Regional Conference (USRC) aims to ease the burden of U.S. legislation on General Conference and give U.S. churches parity with those in central conferences. It should also make General Conference shorter and much less costly.