Special General Conference 2019

2019 Special Session of the General Conference 

A Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church took place February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. The purpose was to act on a report from the Commission on a Way Forward, authorized to examine paragraphs in The Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and to explore options to strengthen church unity. Read a reflection about next steps. Find an overview of what did and did not happen.

General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church. The General Conference 2020 will take place May 5-15, 2020, at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

What happened and what didn’t at General Conference 2019?

At the conclusion of General Conference 2019, many United Methodists are wondering what the decisions made will mean for each of us and our congregations. Let’s take a look at what we know, and what is still to be resolved. Learn more…

Ask the UMC: What happened at General Conference?

Review and clarify for yourself what actually occurred at the Special Called General Conference in St. Louis. Ask the UMC, a ministry of UM Communications, offers this summary. Learn more…

New Document (added 3-27-2019): List of GC2019 petitions under review

Bishop Peggy Johnson’s Report on the Special General Conference [.pptx download]

Eastern PA heard Bishop Peggy Johnson’s report on the Special Session of General Conference 2019 at West Lawn UMC on Saturday, March 16, 10 AM to 12 PM, at West Lawn UMC.

View the video recording at https://www.westlawnumc.com/live-streaming/ [Click the “archives” tab and then scroll down to choose “EPA General Conference 2019 recap”]

[Click the “archives” tab and then scroll down to choose “EPA General Conference 2019 recap”]

Bishop Johnson will also report on GC2019 to our four individual districts later in March. This schedule of special town hall meetings includes their just-updated locations.

  • East District: Mon. March 25, 6:30 pm, at Doylestown UMC
  • North District: Tue. March 26, 5 pm, at Tamaqua: First UMC.
  • South District: Wed. March 27, 6:30 pm, at Valley Forge: St. Matthew’s UMC
  • West District: Thu. March 28, 6:30 pm, at Manheim: Ruhl’s UMC. 

Latest GC2019 news stories

GC2019 voting credentials under review

(UMNS) — General Conference 2019 organizers are looking into whether ineligible people might have received credentials to vote during the special session. After an in-depth review, it appears possible that “a very limited number” of ineligible people who were correctly denied credentials by General Conference staff were later able to procure them, said the Rev. Gary Graves, secretary of the General Conference. Read story Read press release

Judicial Council to review GC2019 actions

Headline-making decisions by the legislative body of The United Methodist Church will be reviewed next month by the denomination’s top court. The UM Judicial Council has posted its two-item docket for the April 23-26 meeting in Evanston, Illinois, with a reminder of deadlines for request for oral hearings and brief submissions. 

As the special General Conference drew to a close on Feb. 26, delegates approved a request that the top court review the Traditional Plan as amended. That plan would strengthen enforcement to prevent “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from serving as clergy and would impose mandatory penalties on clergy who officiate at same-sex weddings.
In addition, during a Feb. 27 closed meeting following General Conference, the Council of Bishops decided to ask the Judicial Council to make a declaratory decision on the constitutionality of Petition 90066, also adopted by GC2019. The petition outlines procedures for local churches to disaffiliate from the denomination and retain property. Learn more…

Pension agency answers GC2019 questions

Wespath, the United Methodist pension agency, has updated answers to frequently asked questions related to the special General Conference. Read FAQs

Resources, prayers offered for LGBTQ youth

(UMNS) Young people spoke to the harm done during the General Conference in St. Louis, reading a statement calling for unity signed by 15,529 young people around the world and warning of the harm actions of the legislative assembly could cause. A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health while the Feb. 23-26 conference was underway stated one in four youth between the ages of 12 and 14 who commit suicide are LGBTQ youth. Read story

United Methodist Insight, a moderately Progressive online publication, describes itself as “A forum for discerning God’s future for The United Methodist Church.” It is edited by longtime UMC journalist Cynthia Astle and hosted online by St. Stephen UMC, Mesquite, TX. Find more GC2019 articles—including aggregated news and opinion writings—on its website at https://um-insight.net/.  

More stories from UM News:


The movement continues. Learn more about our evolving Wesleyan heritage.

Statement by Bishop Peggy Johnson and the Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm (Eastern PA Conference delegation leader) on General Conference 2019–What happened and what happens next?
Eastern PA Conference’s GC 2019 Delegates:
Rev. Dawn Taylor Storm
Rev. Dr. Jeff Raffauf
Rev. Lydia Munoz
Rev. Joe DiPaolo
Alternate: Rev. Bob Wilt
Judy Ehninger
Clarita Krall
Krystl Johnson
Jane Bonner
Alternate:  Lenora Thompson

Essays from our Delegates:

Two essays by Eastern PA Conference leaders

Note: In the wake of General Conference 2019, we welcome more thoughtful essays, sermons, letters and other writings from conference and church members, sharing various perspectives. We want to help continue the conversation about the historic discourse and decisions that took place there and that continue to happen across our UM Connection. Please write to us at communications@epaumc.org. We reserve the right to edit writings as needed and to publish them at our own discretion. Thank you.

Musing a Methodist Mulligan: Reflections on General Conference 2019
By the Rev. David E. Woolverton

“I believe it’s time for The United Methodist Church to declare a mulligan, a do-over,” writes the Rev. David Woolverton, a pastor and teacher of conflict resolution. “It’s time for both sides to come back to the table, realize in love that they are God-bearers of an important legacy that is far more important than each is individually, and celebrate in eulogy their Parent, as it willingly dies for the sins of its children in order for them to have Life.”

Woolverton asserts, “The General Conference session was doomed to fail – at no specific fault of any particular participants, and regardless of whichever plan was to be chosen… Conflict leadership fundamentally is not about the resolution of disagreements. It’s about leading people through a discipleship process that helps them remember who they are in Christ, why the Church exists, and what the mission of the Church actually is. Learn more…

Musings after 2019 Special Session of General Conference
By Clarita Anderman Krall

Clarita Krall, an Eastern PA Conference delegate, shares her utter dismay, among a range of emotions, at the outcome of voting at GC2019. Advocates for the Traditional Plan, in her view, contend that persons with a different opinion are not “biblically observant, when it is rather the case that United Methodists of devout faith just DO NOT AGREE and do not always interpret scripture with the same point of view. Throughout the history of Christianity, biblical criticism is an area of study that exists because of differing understandings within the faith.”

Yet, Krall wants to see Progressives “continue the quest for full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ United Methodists in their own church! This struggle for God’s justice is not over!” Learn more…

Pre-GC2019 Essays:

Way Forward Study Resources

Special General Conference 2019 News & Informaiton