Monday, April 23, 2012

Methodist General Conference(s!)

Before I begin my post, I have to say I was surprised when logging into my blog.  It seems that they have changed a lot of stuff.  I'm sure it is all great, but I am not so good with tech changes.  I say all of that to say, I hope this post turns out okay!  -  Here we go!

This is a big General Conference year for Methodism.  Four of the seven U.S. based World Methodist Council denominations are having General Conferences this year.  Within Methodism, the General Conference (or, in the case of the Church of the Nazarene, General Assembly) is the supreme doctrine-formulating, lawmaking, and elective authority for each denomination.  The Book of Discipline (Nazarenes refer to it as the Manual) is revised according to G.C./A. action every four years.  -  This is where official actions, statements, doctrines and positions are determined for each denomination, so this is a very big deal for each denomination. 

The United Methodist Church will be the first of the Methodist denominations to assemble for General Conference this year.  They kick of their G.C. this Tuesday in Tampa, Florida.  It will last through May 4. 

Among the major issues coming before the UMC G.C. are these:  Major restructuring proposals for the denomination including denominational agencies and the Council of Bishops (with a proposal for a new kind of President of the Council of Bishops); The possible loss of guaranteed appointments for elders; and, as always(!), issues about sexuality.  (There is also the Pan-Methodist "Full Communion" vote, as found in the blog post, below.)  More of the major issues to be addressed can be found, here.  -  Those interested in the UMC G.C. can find our more information on their General Conference website, here.

The Wesleyan Church will be the next denomination to hold their General Conference.  It will take place in Lexington, Kentucky, June 2-6.  The theme will be Loving Christ, Embracing Our World. Word is, this General Conference may be considering changing from a three general superintendent (bishop) model (for the U.S. church) to a one g.s. model. 

A preliminary daily schedule can be viewed, here, and further information about their G.C. can be found, here.

On June 27, the African Methodist Episcopal Church will start their G.C.  It will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, and it will conclude on the Fourth of July.  The theme of the AME G.C. is Exalting Christ to Impact the World.  A draft of the agenda can be found, here, and more information about the General Conference can be seen at this site.

Finally, from July 18 through 24, the AME Zion Church will be in General Conference.  They will be meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Their G.C. website can be found, here.

The Free Methodist Church held their G.C. last year.  2013 will see the General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene.  And the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church will hold their G.C. in 2014.

I expect the respective websites will provide more information as each G.C. approaches.  I also hope to post about interesting developments at the General Conferences as they meet throughout the Spring & Summer.

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