“A Special Session of the General Conference”

The General Conference of The United Methodist Church is the top policy-making body of our denomination.  It meets every four years and for the past several decades the issue of human sexuality has been an agenda item brought up for discussion.  Our official stance includes the following: “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.  We affirm that God’s grace is available to all.  We will seek to live together in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving, and loving one another, as Christ has loved and accepted us.  We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends.  We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons” (The Book of Discipline, 2016, par 161G).

Because this particular issue continues to be discussed at General Conference, a Special Session was called for and will be held February 23-26, 2019 in  St. Louis.  The sole purpose of this Conference will be to try and strengthen the unity of our denomination on the subject of human sexuality.

To help this process along, a report will be presented and acted upon.  It was developed by a 32-member commission authorized by the General Conference of 2016 and appointed by the Council of Bishops.  The report and other information regarding this Special Session of General Conference can be found at http://www.umc.org/topics/general-conference-2019-special-session.

Nobody knows for sure what the outcome of this General Conference will be.  My suggestion is to pray that God’s will be done and to not over-react when the media starts covering this Conference in February.  Typically, the loudest voices are the ones that make the news, regardless if they coincide with what is actually going on.

If you have any questions and/or concerns about this “Special Session of the General Conference” feel free to contact me.  However, I am not a voting member.  The Indiana Conference will be sending our 2016 General Conference delegates made up of 8 clergy and 8 laity.

In Christ’s Peace,

Pastor John