What is happening in The United Methodist Church?
In February 2019, a special called session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church convened in St. Louis, Mo. The session was called by the Council of Bishops to solely address human sexuality in The United Methodist Church. The delegates were assembled to consider three plans from the Commission on a Way Forward.
Delegates passed the Traditional Plan, which would “affirm the church’s current bans on ordaining LGBTQ clergy and officiating at or hosting same-sex marriage. It also boosts penalties and accountability for transgressions of those bans,” according to a report from United Methodist News Service on Feb. 26, 2019. The plan is set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
Since then, several groups within the connection have gathered to offer alternative options for a Way Forward. Legislation has been submitted for consideration and possible enactment by the General Conference when it meets again in May 2020.
United Methodist News Service articles
- Beginning to look ahead after GC2019 – March 4, 2019
- What to expect at General Conference 2020 – Aug. 16, 2019
- Bishops, agency respond to GC2019 vote probe – Aug. 19, 2019
- What comes after GC2020 petitions deadline – Sept. 20, 2019
- Breaking up would be hard to do – Oct. 1, 2019
- Judicial Council defers ruling on Disaffiliation, offers no opinion on Traditional Plan – Nov. 2, 2019
You can find more articles about General Conference on the UMNS website
A list of proposed plans on the future of The United Methodist Church
The following list is not exhaustive but includes those plans that have been distributed publicly. Other plans have been submitted and will be available for consideration by General Conference delegates when it has been translated into the four official languages.
- U.S. as a Regional Conference: Legislation | FAQ | Narrative | Press Release – July 23, 2019
- Bard-Jones Plan: A New Form of Unity PDF | UMNS report – Aug. 8, 2019
- Indianapolis Plan: Basic Provisions PDF | UMNS report – Aug. 13, 2019
- UMC Next Plan: UMCNEXT Proposal | UMNS report – Aug. 19, 2019
- N.E.W. Plan: New Expressions Worldwide PDF | UMNS report – Sept. 25, 2019
- Oppose Dissolution/Preserve Unity Plan: Plan PDF | UMNS Report – Oct. 2, 2019
- The Plain Grace Plan: Executive Summary | Plan PDF | Timeline
A list of statements and blogs by United Methodist boards, agencies and caucus groups
- A Statement from the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops – April 26, 2019
- Uniting Methodists: New Ways for Making Room for All – Aug. 22, 2019*
- UM Forward: For Freedom We Have Been Set Free – Aug. 28, 2019*
- African Bishops issue statement on future of United Methodist Church | UMNS report – Sept. 6, 2019
- United Methodists in the Philippines seek UMC unity – Sept. 9, 2019
- Mainstream UMC Blog*
- Reconciling Ministries Network: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3*
- Statement of the Wesleyan Covenant Association Council on Next Steps*
*Links from caucus groups are for information, not endorsement
What’s happening in the Western Jurisdiction?
Western Jurisdiction Fresh United Methodism Summit, Nov. 14-16, 2019
What will the future of The United Methodist Church look like in the coming years? Who is shaping that vision, and what are the most important values? From Nov. 14 to 16, 2019, the Western Jurisdiction (WJ) Mission Cabinet is hosting a Fresh United Methodism Summit consisting of the WJ Leadership Team, WJ Workgroup Leaders, 2020 General Conference delegates from the WJ, and other emerging leaders.
Go to westernjurisdictionumc.org/fresh to find details about the groups selected to participate, how to apply to be an observer, details about the location, and details about the live stream.
What’s happening in our Annual Conferences?
Desert Southwest Conference:
The Desert Southwest Annual Conference Special Session, authorized by vote at the regular session on June 2019, took place on September 14, 2019, at Gold Canyon UMC in Gold Canyon, Arizona. Rev. Fred Steinberg welcomed all in attendance following the official opening by Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata. Read more
Key Moments on the Path to General Conference
- Judicial Council Fall Session – Oct. 29-Nov. 1, 2019
UMNS Summary | Decisions 1380-1399
The Judicial Council will consider a number of items pertaining to the actions of the 2019 General Conference including the effect of portions of the Traditional Plan, the constitutionality of disaffiliation legislation, and actions of various annual conferences after GC2019.
- Council of Bishops Fall Meeting – Nov. 3-6, 2019
The Council of Bishops will be meeting at Lake Junaluska Assembly in North Carolina to prepare for the 2020 General Conference, elect new officers, and ratify a constitutional amendment among other things.
- Wesleyan Covenant Association Global Gathering 2019 – Nov. 9, 2019
The WCA, an advocacy group connecting orthodox churches, clergy, and laity, will be holding its first global gathering since General Conference 2019 at Asbury UMC in Tulsa, OK (and by simulcast).
- Western Jurisdiction Fresh United Methodism Summit – Nov. 14-16, 2019
The Western Jurisdiction (WJ) Mission Cabinet is hosting a Fresh United Methodism Summit consisting of the WJ Leadership Team, WJ Workgroup Leaders, 2020 General Conference delegates from the WJ, and other emerging leaders. They will consider areas of possible alignment as they seek to offer a “home for all of God’s People.”
- Traditional Plan goes into effect – Jan. 1, 2020
The portions of the Tradition Plan that were ruled constitutional by the Judicial Council last April will go into effect, including stronger prohibitions and punishments targetting LGBTQ+ United Methodists and their allies.
- Pre-General Conference Briefing – Jan. 23-24, 2020
This briefing aims to help delegates, communicators, agency and annual conference staff and other interested parties prepare for the denomination’s legislative body which will meet in May of 2020.
- Judicial Council Spring Session – April 29-May 2, 2020
- Deadline for submission of docket items is Dec. 31, 2019
- General Conference 2020 – May 5-20, 2020
General Conference is the highest legislative body in The United Methodist Church. The voting membership consists of an equal number of clergy and lay delegates elected by the annual conferences. It is the only body that can speak officially for the denomination.