Called General Conference February 23-26, 2019
I’m sure many of you know that the United Methodist Church has a problem on its hands. There are three factions positioning for the soul of the Church. Next February, there will be a special General Conference to vote on, basically, whether we are a doctrinal, theological church or something else. There is a lot of Scripture and history that has determined how we think doctrinally and theologically. Unfortunately, there are those in today’s culture who want to absolutely change the structure of the United Methodist Church. We need to be in prayer for there to be a standard to hold to and accountability for those who completely disregard Scripture and the United Methodist Book of Discipline. (You would think they’d get the message just from the names: Holy Bible and discipline.)
Here is a very basic summary of the three plans from United Methodist News Service reporter, Heather Hahn.
“The Book of Discipline, the denomination’s governing document, says that while all people are of sacred worth, the practice of homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” The book bans the ordination of “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy and the blessing of same-gender unions. However, some clergy and conferences publicly defy those policies, while other pastors and churches are threatening to leave unless the denomination enforces those policies. Ultimately, it will be up to 864 delegates to decide the direction the denomination takes regarding homosexuality.
The Way Forward commission has offered the following three plans:
The One Church Plan would allow decisions about whether to ordain LGBTQ clergy or to allow same-gender unions to be made closer to conference and congregational level. The plan would remove the restrictive language against the practice of homosexuality in the Book of Discipline. It would also give assurances to pastors and conferences who in good conscience cannot perform same-sex weddings or ordain “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy that they don’t have to do so.
The Traditionalist Plan, which would affirm the current language in the Book of Discipline and seek to create swift and strong penalties for violations and create exit plans for churches that disagree.
The Connectional Conference Plan, which would allow conferences to choose among three connectional conferences for affiliation. The connectional conferences would align based on theology or perspective on LGBTQ ministry — be it traditionalist, progressive or allowing for a variety of approaches. This plan would require multiple amendments to the denomination’s constitution.”
“The Council of Bishops encourages the entire church in this season to hear the words of the apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:3, that we ‘make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,’” Carter said in announcing the amended call.”
Be in prayer. In my opinion, for what it’s worth, I don’t think anything will pass. I pray that the Traditionalist Plan would over-whelmingly pass. Should either of the other two pass, well, it will be a sad day for the UMC, and it will cause a lot of churches to make some hard decisions.
Here are links to articles by Thomas Lambrecht, from Good News Magazine, for each plan:
And remember, Pray ~ Pastor Steve.
Hahn, Heather; online news article “Bishops amend what’s heading to GC2019” for UMNS, July 9, 2018.