Conference News

General Conference Day Two: Legislative Prioritization

published 2/24/2019

"It’s a historical moment in our church and I wanted to be a part of that history. I also wanted to be here in support and prayer for those who make these difficult decisions.”
-Rev. Jean Tippit, Discipleship Pastor at Christ UMC

In the News

Opening Worship: Today was the second day of General Conference and began with worship, song and prayer. Bishop Ken Carter, Resident Bishop of the Florida Annual Conference and the President of the Council of Bishops, delivered a sermon of unity saying, "You are the people of the cross and flame. It might even be possible to say in these three days that you are the stewards of the cross and flame." Click here to read the United Methodist News Service's coverage of his sermon

Legislative Prioritization and Elections: Today's goal was to prioritize the legislative pieces presented to the delegates. The plans and petitions were listed one at a time on the video screens in numerical order by petition number(s). Delegates then indicated whether they considered each a high priority or a low priority by pressing either 1 or 2 on their voting device. This prioritization does not indicate a final vote. More here on this process. The morning session primarily focused on dedicated time for the Council of Bishops and Commission on a Way Forward Report to be presented to the delegates. Click here to read UMNS coverage on what received the highest priority votesRev. Joseph Harris of the Oklahoma Conference was elected chair of the legislative committee. The Vice-chair elected was Betty Kazadi Musau from the North Katanga Conference. Carlene Fogle-Miller, from the North Georgia Conference, was elected Secretary of the legislative committee.

Legislative Work: Up first on the priority list of legislation pieces were petitions 90016 and 90017 (paragraph 1504) related to Wespath's recommendations for pension liabilities and CRSP Amendment. The voting body gave these petitions the highest priority ranking in this morning's session. The Commission on a Way Forward has asked Wespath for information and analysis about the potential pension impacts of its proposals. The full Wespath report is on pages 168-169 of the ADCA. The petitions passed in the legislative committee with a vote count of 768-44 and will be considered by the body in plenary session for a vote. It was determined that due to time, the delegates would discuss the next petition in line tomorrow morning (The Traditional Plan, 90032–90048). 

Referral to Judicial Council: Dr. Jeremy Pridgeon, clergy delegate and senior minister at Montgomery FUMC, asked for a Judicial Council declaratory decision on the constitutionality of (Book of Discipline) paragraph 304.5 in light of paragraphs 16 and 33 of the constitutionality of the United Methodist Church. He received a second and obtained well over the needed twenty percent of the voting body (453-321) for it to be referred to Judicial Council. The Judicial Council ruled before the session adjourned that it had previously answered the question in decision 1321

AWF Spiritual Directors: The Alabama-West Florida Spiritual Directors are available to anyone in our conference who would like prayer in the coming days. Click here and Rev. Ashley Davis, AWF Director of Connectional Ministries, will coordinate your request.

AWF Clergy Make the Journey to St. Louis for Historic Conference

(Rev. Jeremy Steele for AWF Conference) - In addition to our delegates, bishop and some of the conference staff, several dedicated United Methodist leaders from our conference have made the long pilgrimage to Saint Louis joining over 3,000 other observers to have a front seat at this historic gathering. The question we asked was why? Why carve out almost a week in your schedule? Why travel over 500 miles? Why sit in a room listening to motions and legislation debates upon which you can not ultimately vote? For Rev. Jean Tippit, associate pastor at Christ UMC in Mobile, AL it starts with history. “It’s a historical moment in our church and I wanted to be a part of that history.” But it doesn’t end there, she also said, “I also wanted to be here in support and prayer for those who make these difficult decisions.” Full feature here

Legislative Tracking

Search for legislation submitted by petition number, keyword or submitter. As General Conference progresses, the information will be updated regarding the actions taken on each piece of legislation. Legislative tracking here

ADCA and Agenda

Advance Daily Christian Advocate: The Daily Christian Advocate (DCA) is the official journal of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church. It serves as the record of those who have been elected to serve as a delegate, the legislation submitted, and the decisions made by the General Conference. Click on the date to access each DCA. 
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Sunday, February 24, 2019

Tomorrow's agenda is below: 
8:00 – 8:20 A.M.
Worship

8:20 A.M. – 12:30 P.M.
Morning Session 1
Break
Morning Session 2

12:30 – 1:30 P.M.
Lunch

1:30 – 6:30 P.M.
Afternoon Session 1
Break
Afternoon Session 2
Worship

6:30 P.M.
Adjournment

Multimedia

Photos: View photos from 2019 General Conference. 
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Sunday, February 24, 2019

All photos by Luke Lucas. 

Live Stream: Click here to access the live stream

Social Media: Follow the action on social media through these channels. 
                

Hashtags: Use #umcgc and #gc2019 to join the Facebook and Twitter conversations and tag your Instagram photos using #umcgc. 

Stay connected throughout General Conference at https://www.awfumc.org/delegation.


AWF Clergy Make the Journey to St. Louis for Historic Conference

published 2/24/2019

(Rev. Jeremy Steele for AWF Conference) - In addition to our delegates, bishop and some of the conference staff, several dedicated United Methodist leaders from our conference have made the long pilgrimage to Saint Louis joining over 3,000 other observers to have a front seat at this historic gathering. The question we asked was why? Why carve out almost a week in your schedule? Why travel over 500 miles? Why sit in a room listening to motions and legislation debates upon which you can not ultimately vote?

For Rev. Jean Tippit, associate pastor at Christ UMC in Mobile, AL it starts with history. “It’s a historical moment in our church and I wanted to be a part of that history.” But it doesn’t end there, she also said, “I also wanted to be here in support and prayer for those who make these difficult decisions.”

The conference began on Saturday with an entire day devoted to just that: prayer and worship, but the prayer continues. All United Methodists have been called to prayer before and during this event. There are several resources available for that at UMCprays.org as well as a prayer written by a pastor in our annual conference.

Rev. Jake and Rev. Dana Brady, pastors at First United Methodist Church in Geneva, AL made the trip together looking for an unvarnished account. “We want to be in contact, firsthand, with what happens here” he said hoping to be able to bring that eye-witness account to the churches they lead.

Our annual conference is offering daily emails to help you do just that back home. You can sign up for those by clicking here and choosing the NewsCONNECTION list. If you’re looking for even more reporting, you can find the official news feed at UMnews.org 

But what seems to be a common feeling among these additional observers was expressed by Rev. Sara Shaver District Superintendent for the Dothan District. “I love the United Methodist Church. “And this love is calling her to action. “I wanted to be here in support but also to hear and see first hand the proceedings of General Conference.”

Rev. Frederick Outlaw says he “wasn’t present in 1968 or 1972 for the merger of the Central Jurisdiction, Evangelical Brethren and the Methodist Church.” But that “it appears we are at another crossroads.” A lot has changed in terms of technology since those other historic gatherings in the 60s and 70s that could enable you to not miss being part of this one.If you were not able to make the trek to Saint Louis as an in-person observer, you can follow along as an online observer, all of the conference is being streamed live.  


General Conference Day One: A Day of Prayer

published 2/23/2019

“It was important for the United Methodist Church to come together and spend intentional time in prayer and fasting before we begin the legislative work. I, along with many other bishops and delegates, will be fasting during the lunch hour. I am grateful for many dedicated United Methodists in our conference that are taking time out of their busy weekend to pray for our delegates and leaders.”
-Bishop David Graves, Alabama-West Florida Conference

General Conference Begins with Prayer and Fasting

Today marked the beginning of a significant time in the life of the United Methodist Church. Bishops, media, observers, and a total of eight hundred and sixty-four delegates gathered in St. Louis at the America’s Center Convention Complex for a Day of Prayer. The day was organized by the Praying Our Way Forward team, led by Bishop Deborah Wallace-Padgett and Bishop Al Gwinn. This initiative began in 2016 and included bishops, annual conferences, and expanded to include the entire denomination. The Alabama-West Florida Conference honored this time in September of 2017 by writing prayers and asking local churches to ring bells at 5:23 one evening signifying today’s date, February 23. More here

AWF Pastor Serves on Committee of the Calendar

Rev. Ashley Meyer, associate pastor at Cokesbury UMC in Pensacola, FL, is serving as Assistant to the Coordinator of the Calendar. This role is part of the Commission on the General Conference. This is Ashley's third general conference in a leadership role. This staff is headquartered in the former visiting team locker room where the St. Louis Rams previously played! You can see how she customized her space. This is an unusual space for general conference but Meyer and the commission committee members are making the most of it. We are grateful to Rev. Meyer for taking time away from her family and local church to serve in this capacity.  

ADCA and Agenda

Advance Daily Christian Advocate: Today's ADCA may be found here

Tomorrow's agenda is below: 
7:30 – 8:30 A.M.
Opening Worship

8:30 A.M. – 12:30 P.M.
Morning Session 1
Roll Call/Bar Reports (Commission on the General Conference, Committee on Agenda and Calendar, Administrative Committees)
Break
Morning Session 2
Council of Bishops and Commission on a Way Forward Report

12:30 – 1:30 P.M.
Lunch

1:30 – 6:30 P.M.
Afternoon Session 1
Break
Afternoon Session 2
Worship

6:30 P.M.
Adjournment

As a reminder, The Commission on the General Conference has devised a process for determining the order in which legislative proposals will be considered by the single legislative committee during the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference. Petitions that compose a plan will be considered together as one unit. Petitions that are not part of a plan will be considered individually. On the first official day of the session, February 24, plans and petitions will be listed one at a time on the video screens in numerical order by petition number(s). Delegates will then be able to indicate whether they consider each a high priority or a low priority by pressing either 1 or 2 on their device. This process is not a final vote, but rather a prioritization of the proposals. More here

Multimedia

Photos: View photos from 2019 General Conference here.
Saturday, February 23, 2019
All photos by Luke Lucas. 

Live Stream: Click here to access the live stream

Social Media: Follow the action on social media through these channels. 
                

Hashtags: Use #umcgc and #gc2019 to join the Facebook and Twitter conversations and tag your Instagram photos using #umcgc. 

Stay connected throughout General Conference at https://www.awfumc.org/delegation.


General Conference Begins with Prayer and Fasting

published 2/23/2019

Today marked the beginning of a significant time in the life of the United Methodist Church. Bishops, media, observers, and a total of eight hundred and sixty-four delegates gathered in St. Louis at the America’s Center Convention Complex for a Day of Prayer.

The day was organized by the Praying Our Way Forward team, led by Bishop Deborah Wallace-Padgett and Bishop Al Gwinn. This initiative began in 2016 and included bishops, annual conferences, and expanded to include the entire denomination. The Alabama-West Florida Conference honored this time in September of 2017 by writing prayers and asking local churches to ring bells at 5:23 one evening signifying today’s date, February 23.

Today’s gathering featured experiential prayer time with bishops from four regions of the world. Each segment included:
-Preparation for the way God will speak in each segment;​
-Celebration of the places where the work of God is thriving;
-Presentation of the missional challenges in this part of the world;
-Prayers in various languages; and
-Experiential prayer including prayer stations, prayer partners, and self-guided prayer.

Several local churches in the Alabama-West Florida Conference recently held their own prayer services or vigils to join in this effort. Dothan First United Methodist Church held a service last week. “We felt it was important to come together as a church and offer prayers for those who have spent significant time serving the church as lay and clergy delegates to General Conference,” said Dr. Jim Sanders, senior pastor. “Clearly our entire congregation cannot make the trip to St. Louis so this was our way of showing our support for those who are representing our conference. Our prayers continue for the conference and those attending.”

Dothan FUMC also distributed prayer cards containing the dates and purpose of the special-called conference, the names of the ten delegates, and a prayer for them to say each day in the month of February.

Today’s gathering had two purposes: to pray for the 2019 Special Session of General Conference and to increase effectiveness in fulfilling the Church’s mission.

“We have much work ahead of us in the coming days,” stated Bishop David Graves. “It was important for the United Methodist Church to come together and spend intentional time in prayer and fasting before we begin the legislative work. I, along with many other bishops and delegates, will be fasting during the lunch hour. I am grateful for many dedicated United Methodists in our conference that are taking time out of their busy weekend to pray for our delegates and leaders.”


United Methodists Meet in St. Louis for Worldwide Conference

published 2/19/2019

St. Louis: Delegates and observers from around the world will gather at the Dome at America’s Center, February 24-26, 2019, for the Special Session of the United Methodist General Conference. The General Conference is the only body that speaks officially for the 12.6 million-member church. The event will be available via live video streaming at UMC.org/live.

The day preceding the start of General Conference, February 23, has been designated as a day of preparation and prayer as a culmination of the Praying Our Way Forward initiative (see schedule here). General Conference 2019 will officially open at 7:30 a.m., Sunday, February 24, with a worship service. Preaching will be Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, Jr., president of the Council of Bishops.

As the top policymaking body of the worldwide United Methodist Church, the General Conference meets every four years to determine the denomination’s future direction. The General Conference was next slated to meet in 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but the Council of Bishops called a special session “limited to receiving and acting upon a report from the Commission on a Way Forward based upon the recommendations of the Council of Bishops.”

The Judicial Council subsequently ruled that petitions could be filed by any organization, clergy or lay member of The United Methodist Church if the business proposed to be transacted is “in harmony” with the purpose stated in the call.

During the three-day session, 864 delegates from around the world will consider 78 legislative petitions, all of which must receive a vote in the single legislative committee. All those approved by the legislative committee must receive a plenary vote. 

Plenary sessions and legislative committee meetings of the General Conference are open to the public. Guest and observer registration is required to attend the General Conference sessions. Registration desks will be located inside Entry B of the Dome at America’s Center. On-site registration opens on February 22 at 2 p.m. There is a suggested badge fee of $10 for on-site registration to offset the costs of the credentialing process. Pre-registered guests may pick up their badges at the registration desk.

Media who are covering the session can apply for credentials at the news registration desk at the Broadway Central entrance.

To assure the safety and security of attendees, security personnel will be checking for prohibited items for all persons entering the convention center through the use of wands and inspecting bags. Complimentary wi-fi access will be provided.

Simultaneous voice interpretation for delegates will be available in English, French, German, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Swahili. Non-delegate attendees needing English interpretation when other languages are being spoken can listen to translations via an FM radio (recommended) or by downloading a free app, and will need to bring their own device, as well as earbuds or headphones.  

For more information, visit http://www.UMC.org/GC2019.


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