On September 25th and 26th Marty Rieken and I attended the Leadership Institute at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection (COR) in Kansas City, Kansas along with 1,500 other lay and clergy members of the United Methodist Church from annual conferences around the US. This event is held every year in September, and centers on a different leadership focus each year. The focus of this year’s institute was the future of the United Methodist Church.
Rev. Adam Hamilton, Sr. pastor at COR, chose to center this year’s Institute on that subject because the United Methodist Church today is at a crossroads over the issue of human sexuality. Disagreements over this issue have divided the United Methodist Church (UMC) for decades. And those divisions are getting deeper.
Proposals to resolve these divisions will be discussed, debated, and voted on at the next UM General Conference in May of 2020. General Conference is a gathering of elected delegates (equally divided between lay and clergy) representing regional conferences in the United States and throughout the global United Methodist connection. General Conference meets every four years, and is the only body that can make changes to the denomination’s Book of Discipline (BOD). The BOD contains the rules that govern the life and mission of the global UMC at all levels, from the local church on up through the work of annual conferences, jurisdictions, bishops, and the UM general boards and agencies such as the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
At the Leadership Institute, a variety of speakers, including UM bishops, lay people, and pastors, presented their hopeful visions for what the UMC might become as we move forward after actions taken by GC 2020.
But the bottom line is, actions taken by GC on proposals to resolve the impasse in the UMC over the issue of human sexuality will bring changes to the denomination.
I believe that you need to be aware of what proposals are being brought to GC 2020, and the potential changes they would bring to the UMC.
So beginning in January, 2020, I will write a series of newsletter articles. The first one will give a brief history of the dispute over human sexuality that has brought the UMC to this crossroads point. Then, in future articles, I will briefly discuss the various proposals that delegates to GC 2020 will be considering and voting on, and how they might impact local UM churches and pastors.
I would invite you to be in prayer for our denomination as we seek to move forward following the leading of the Holy Spirit.
If you would like more information about anything in this article, or would like to talk to me, you can call or text me at 319-559-0678, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.