A Way Forward

The Commission on a Way Forward is fleshing out the details of three possible models for how the denomination treats LGBTQ inclusion. The following provides information about the process and the plans:

About General Conference
General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church. The assembly meets at the beginning of each quadrennium to consider revisions to church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs for the next four years. A special session of the General Conference has been called for February 23-26, 2019, and will meet at the America's Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Click here for more information about the called General Conference session

Way Forward report released in all four official languages of General Conference

From the Commission on a Way Forward: This report to the Special Session of the General Conference from the Commission on a Way Forward is submitted out of a desire to serve our whole church and particularly the delegations who will gather in February, 2019. It is offered in the context of a global church on four continents, in the four official languages of the church, and in an attempt to share material that honors this reality. This report is the work of the Commission on a Way Forward and is shared directly with the special session of the General Conference.

Here is the link to the English Version.
Here is the link to the French Version.
Here is the link to the Portuguese Version.
Here is the link to the Swahili Version.
Here is the link to the Spanish Version.

Advance Daily Christian Advocate now available online

The Advance Edition of the Daily Christian Advocate (ADCA), the official journal of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church, is accessible online now. The Book of Discipline requires that the ADCA be available to delegates at least 90 days before the opening day of General Conference. 

Regarding the petitions printed in the ADCA: The General Conference Committee on Reference has determined that 78 petitions submitted for consideration by the 2019 General Conference are in harmony with the purpose of the special session to be held February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. Read press release 

Judicial Council rules on Way Forward plan 

The United Methodist Council of Bishops asked for a ruling on the constitutionality of three legislative plans heading to the 2019 special General Conference. The Judicial Council met Oct. 23-26 in Zurich, Switzerland. In their findings, the Judicial Council pointed out the constitutional problems with both the One Church Plan and the Traditional Plan. Because the Connectional Conference plan already contains proposed constitutional changes required for implementation, the court declined to review the Connectional Conference plan at this time.

Read the full digest of the Judicial Council's declaratory decision.

Read an article from United Methodist News Services about the decision.

Helpful Terms to Know

The Book of Discipline 
A book outlining the law, doctrine, administration, organizational work, and procedures of The United Methodist Church. Each General Conference amends The Book of Discipline, and the actions of the General Conference are reflected in the quadrennial revision. We are currently under The 2016 Book of Discipline.

The Annual Conference 
The regional, organizational unit of The United Methodist Church, as well as the yearly meeting of that unit, both presided over by a bishop. The business session is composed of equal numbers of clergy and laity, with at least one layperson from each pastoral charge. We are a part of Upper New York Annual Conference.

The General Conference 
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. General Conference convenes every four years to determine the denomination’s future direction. It is the only body that can speak for the denomination.

The 2019 Called General Conference 
The 2016 General Conference made plans for a called General Conference to be held in 2019. Its only purpose is to address our denomination’s ongoing struggles around the topic of human sexuality. The called General Conference is scheduled for February 23-26 in St. Louis, MO.

The Delegation 
The delegation consists of the voting delegates to General Conference. Every four years, each annual conference elects an equal number of lay and clergy delegates to attend General Conference.

The Commission on A Way Forward 
The Commission on a Way Forward was proposed by the Council of Bishops and approved by the 2016 General Conference to do a complete examination of all topics concerning human sexuality in the church. Its 32 members were named by the Council of Bishops, including eight bishops, 11 laypersons, and 13 clergypersons. The Commission has prepared and will present the three proposed plans to the 2019 called General Conference.

The Constitution 
This is the fundamental constituting and legal document of The United Methodist Church. It establishes the basic outline for the organization of the denomination as well as establishing the office and role of the bishop. The Constitution can only be amended by 2/3 approval of The General Conference AND 2/3 approval of the aggregate vote of all annual conferences.

The Judicial Council 
Nine persons, both lay and clergy, elected by General Conference who rule on questions of constitutionality in church law and practice.

Ways to Follow Activities of the Special Session of General Conference

United Methodist Communications will be livestreaming proceedings at the special General Conference in English, French and American Sign Language. The stream at umc.org/live will include all open sessions when the lawmaking assembly meets February 23-26. Visual learners also can view a chart that offers an overview of four main plans under consideration.

Watch the livestream
See chart on plans heading to GC2019
More resources on GC2019
Listen to audio about GC2019