Starting on Saturday February 23 the General Conference of the United Methodist Church will be meeting in St Louis. The General Conference is the designated group within our church denomination that has the sole authority to set church doctrine and law, in what is called the Book of Discipline. The General Conference meeting is scheduled for 4 days in order to solely discuss and to vote on various proposals with regards to the United Methodist Church stance on the ordination of LGBTQ persons in our denomination and the United Methodist Church stance with regards to the marriage of LGBTQ persons by our clergy in our churches. 864 delegates from United Methodist Churches around the world will gather to have this discussion and try to come to a resolution on these issues. Twenty-two lay and clergy delegates from Virginia United Methodist Churches are on their way to be a part of the discussion.
We had a very good presentation at Wright’s Chapel a couple of weeks ago with Rev Mark Ogren, a delegate to the General Conference, as he laid out the various proposals being offered up. These are important discussions and decisions to many people and some people come to the discussion with a great deal of passion and emotion. I pray for all the delegates who are doing this important work for our church, for it is not easy work. There have been lots of gatherings and caucus groups formed who prefer certain proposals, but no one I’ve talked to has any reliable prediction of the outcome of the meeting. Our United Methodist Bishops have recommended what is called the One Church Plan which they believe will provide the most unity amongst our churches, while allowing churches to have freedom to do ministry in their own context. Bishops however, although they have influence at General Conference, are not allowed to vote. I’ll be waiting and watching to see what happens and what if anything is decided and how General Conference decisions will effect Wright’s Chapel.
If anyone has any questions about General Conference or what is being proposed, please do not hesitate to email me or stop in to discuss it. Our mission at Wright’s Chapel is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and I plan to keep at it.
If you would like to follow along with any of General Conference you can watch it live by clicking here. It begins on Feb. 23rd at 10am.