A Way Forward - General Conference 2019

Seeking a Way Forward 

At the 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church significant conversation was brought forward by delegates around the church's denominational position and laws concerning human sexuality.  From this conference the Council of Bishops appointed a 32 person "Way Forward Commission" to do a complete examination and consider possible revisions of every paragraph of the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and options that help maintain and strengthen the unity of the church divided on this issue.  See a video on the history of this conversation in the United Methodist Church.  Video 4:35

The Commission presented various options to the Council of Bishops for their recommendation to General Conference 2019.  The Bishops supported the One Church Plan, allowing an umbrella structure to hold churches of wide theological opinions on this issue.  

2019 General Conference 

In February 2019 delegates gathered in St. Louis to consider the Bishops' recommendation and vote on how our church laws focused on human sexuality, particularly LGBTQ+ clergy and weddings. 856 delegates represented diverse cultures, nations, and theological standpoints among the elected clergy and lay members.

After three days of heated conversation and debate the Traditionalist Plan was affirmed. The Traditional Plan keeps the current language around human sexuality and increases accountability by streamlining the processes to enforce penalties for violations of The Book of Discipline related to marriage and ordination of LGBTQ+  persons. Some parts of the Traditional Plan, and the entire plan itself,  was referred to the Judicial Council for review April 23-26, 2019. Once the Judicial Council rules, parts deemed constitutional will go into effect January 2020.

Following General Conference

Pastor Jim and Pastor Mira presented a joint sermon on March 3, 2019 to the congregation speaking about this news.  Read the text here.  

Leadership Council shared a letter to the congregation on March 7, 2019 outlining the decision, Sunday's sermon, and their plan forward.  Read the text here.  

Bishop Jeremiah Park, the resident Bishop of the Susquehanna Annual Conference, shared two letters with clergy and members of our annual conference.  Read Letter 1 and Letter 2.  

Where We Stand 

On March 24, 219  Pastor Jim and Pastor Mira shared their views with the congregation on the outcomes of General Conference around LGBTQ clergy and marriage.  Each pastor presented for 20-30 minutes followed by a Q&A period where they clarified parts of their presentation.  

See the video of Where We Stand 
   30 minutes by each pastor followed by 30 minutes Q&A 

Read Pastor Jim's remarks
Read Pastor Mira's remarks 

Next Steps 

After Easter GROW Adults will be offering classes on four different books around this topic.  For more information please visit Adult GROW SIGN UPS.  

As more information is available regarding denominational outcomes it will be shared with the congregation.  

Nothing that happened at General Conference changed the mission or vision of CUMC to live like Jesus. Neither has it changed the two greatest commandments that Jesus told us about: love God and love one another.