More actions at annual conferences

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Annual conferences in the U.S. dealt with far more than the denomination’s homosexuality debate during their meetings this year.

A big source of conversation has been the Christmas Covenant, a proposal coming to General Conference that aims to put the U.S. and other geographic regions of the denomination on equal footing. So far, 26 annual conferences in the U.S. and nine in the Philippines have endorsed the Christmas Covenant. Efforts continue to refine the legislation before General Conference petitions are due Sept. 6.

Multiple annual conferences passed resolutions aimed at creation care and reducing the effects of climate change. Five passed resolutions encouraging local churches to form green teams. Three passed net-zero carbon emissions commitments. Four passed resolutions that will go on to General Conference that seek a fossil-fuels investment screen for United Methodists. Two expanded their own conference fossil fuel divestment efforts.

Most U.S. annual conferences also received updates on their continuing work for racial justice both within the church and wider society.

As just one example, the North Georgia Annual Conference established a Reparations Task Force last year to focus on repairing relationships. This year, the conference adopted all four of the task force’s recommendations.

Conference voters approved:

·      That proceeds of the sale of a closed historically Black church be granted to another Black United Methodist church of the former members’ choosing.

·      A process for encouraging mergers between legacy churches of color when one is in danger of closing.

·      An amendment to its standing rules to require intercultural competency training for people who serve on conference boards and other bodies.

·      The requirement that conference staff and members of the Board of Ordained Ministry also complete intercultural competency training.

Multiple U.S. annual conferences also held elections this year to fill vacancies in their General Conference and jurisdictional delegations.

The Judicial Council, The United Methodist Church’s top court, previously ruled that annual conferences are permitted to hold elections to fill vacancies in their allotted General Conference delegations “provided vacancies cannot be filled with reserve delegates.” The Commission on the General Conference, the body that plans the big meeting, has asked the church court to rule on whether the same applies to jurisdictional and central conference delegates. The Judicial Council is next scheduled to meet in October.

To learn more about this year’s meetings, read 2023 annual conference reports.

Return to main story Church in U.S. sees shift toward LGBTQ inclusion.


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