In a gathering that emphasized the denomination’s impasse over homosexuality, General Conference delegates and other UMC leaders received a preview of some of the proposals that will come before the quadrennial lawmaking body in May.
Eastern PA Conference delegation leader Judy Ehninger attended the event, along with clergy delegate co-leader the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm and the Rev. Anita Powell, Director of Connectional Ministries.
Here are their comments about the quadrennial, pre-General Conference event:
Judy Ehninger, Lay Delegate and Delegation Leader
The networking and small groups are a wonderful part of this experience. It makes the connection come alive. While we had heard much at our NEJ meeting on January 18, the information shared in Nashville was more formally presented; and of course, questions came from all over.
I appreciated seeing our boards and agencies in action. As I walked the corridor of displays, I prayed for the future of each board and agency, the faithful staff, and for all of our members and churches that are nurtured by their work.
The Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, South District Superintendent and Clergy Delegate
“I was encouraged by the presentation from the developers of the Protocol of Grace and Reconciliation through Separation, who envision The United Methodist Church, post-General Conference, to be a place where traditionalists, centrists and progressives can fully live out their ministry. All churches and all people will have a place in the church as we live out John Wesley’s vision “though we not think alike, may we not love alike?”
The United Methodist Church will continue to be a global church, as we prioritize our support for Africa University, our U.S. colleges and seminaries, and UMCOR. And we will continue to focus on our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
No church that remains United Methodist will need to vote; our churches can continue to live out their convictions in their local setting; and all churches–traditional, centrist and progressive–will be encouraged to be vital centers for mission and ministry. Only churches who desire to leave the denomination will need to vote; and we will help these churches through this process with grace.
I will be leading a South District session Feb. 12, (9:30 AM to 12 PM, at Coatesville Moose Lodge #297, 1200 Airport Road, Coatesville, PA) for clergy and ministry candidates to review the details of the imminent Protocol legislation. Please know that our GC2020 delegation members are available to talk with churches who have questions.
The Rev. Anita Powell, Director of Connectional Ministries
I am grateful for the experience of attending the Pre-General Conference Briefing. While it was an opportunity to see the Global Connection at work, it was also a time to see God moving. The various presentations detailed many perspectives and paths into the future, along with key issues and possible implications.
Generally, there was evidence of courageous leadership, deep concern, and sincere commitment to imagining “a way forward,” even as it is still evolving. The theme, “… And Know that I Am God, ” encourages us to trust God for “THE PLAN,” which will lead the United Methodist Church through this season of uncertainty into the future.