Sunday, February 24 Update

General Conference started Sunday morning with worship. Bishop Ken Carter, Resident Bishop of the Florida Annual Conference and the President of the Council of Bishops preached. During his message he urged the Conference to make every effort to maintain unity and asked uncomfortable questions including, “What if we sought to hold together an evangelical orthodoxy with a radical hospitality to all people and trusted that God will journey with them (and us) toward a holiness that is not ours to define in this life?” (Click here to read the full sermon.)

Following worship, the Conference then heard the report of the Commission on a Way Forward. Different members of the 32-person commission presented their report which included the mission, vision and scope of their work as well as the three plans – One Church Plan, Connectional Conference Plan and Traditional Plan.

After a lunch break, delegates began a process to prioritize their work. Over the three days of business, they will consider a total of 78 petitions. In order to determine the order in which they will consider the legislation, delegates went through a process to rank plans and petitions not a part of an overall plan. Each plan or petition was named and delegates voted either “high priority” or “low priority.” The votes were tabulated and developed an overall ranking (highest priority to lowest). The legislation will come before the single Legislative Committee to be perfected in the order based on the prioritizing ranking.

Here are the results of the ranking process. You can read all the legislation in the Advanced Daily Christian Advocate.

Title &
Petition Number(s)
ADCA Page Number(s) “High Priority”
Wespath Recommendations – Pension Liabilities and CRSP Amendment – Par. 1504
pp. 168–169 518 63.56%
Traditional Plan
(except 90041 & 90048)
pp. 182–195 459 55.57%
pp. 205–206 412 50.06%
pp. 201–202 406 49.51%
One Church Plan
(Except 90015)
pp. 164–168 403 48.67%
p. 201 395 48.41%
Retain Paragraph 161.G
pp. 202–203 214 26.13%
A Simple Plan
pp. 207-210 153 18.68%
A Traditional Way Forward with Enhanced Enforcement
pp. 197–198 148 18.03%
A Graceful Exit as a Way Forward
p. 197 133 16.24%
p. 223 107 12.94
Human Sexuality
p. 223 104 12.73
p. 231 104 12.70
Connectional Conference Plan
p. 170–182 102 12.44
Abeyance of Trust Clause Enforcement
p. 200 99 12.03%
pp. 206–207 87 10.64%
Chargeable Offenses
pp. 231–232 87 10.57%
Definition of Gender
pp. 200–201 70 8.54%
Interpretation of Fidelity in Marriage for Deacons
pp. 210–211 69 8.42%
Fully Inclusive Way Forward
p. 233 67 8.18%
Replace Par. 161.G
pp. 199–200 64 7.79%
One New Discipline Plan
pp. 223–227 61 7.42%
Sexual Practices
p. 232 45 5.47%

All submitted petitions must receive a vote from the Legislative Committee according to the General Conference rules. Any legislation approved by the Legislative Committee will then go before the plenary for further debate & vote. Anything approved in committee must also receive a vote in plenary. All 864 delegates comprise both the single Legislative Committee and the plenary during this Special Session of General Conference.

Following an afternoon break the delegates convened as the single Legislative Committee. They first elected officers out of a pool of people who served as Legislative Committee officers during the 2016 General Conference, indicated a willingness to serve again, and attended a mandatory refresher course. The officers elected included Chair Joe Harris (Oklahoma); Vice Chair Betty Kazadi Musau (North Katanga); and Secretary Carlene Fogle-Miller (Florida).

The Legislative Committee then considered the petitions rated highest priority from their ranking process — Wespath Recommendations regarding Pension Liabilities and CRSP Amendment. After discussion and explanations from Wespath officials, the Committee approved the petitions.

The Conference then adjourned for the evening and will begin is work as the Legislative Committee tomorrow morning following a time of worship.

For any legislation to be enacted by the Special Session of General Conference, it will need to be approved by both the Legislative Committee and the plenary.

Pictures from Today

(click pictures to enlarge)

Sunday began with worship. The entire Council of Bishops processed during the opening hymn. Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett is pictured above.
Retired Bishop Will Willimon also participated in the procession.
Retired Bishop Robert Fannin (third from left) joins the bishops and congregation in singing "This Little Light of Mine" following the sermon.
North Alabama Conference delegates votes during the prioritization of legislation.
North Alabama Conference delegate Rev. Tiwirai Kufarimai stands during a short break.
Many North Alabama United Methodists are in St. Louis observing General Conference. Some of them joined the delegation for a group picture at the end of the Sunday afternoon session.

Monday Schedule

8:00 – 8:20 a.m.

8:20 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Morning Session 1
Morning Session 2

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

1:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Afternoon Session 1
Afternoon Session 2

6:30 p.m.

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