Conferences react to ‘Way Forward’ on sexuality


By Kathy L. Gilbert June 7, 2016 | UMNS An agreement to let a commission appointed by the Council of Bishops study church law on sexuality is not an invitation to violate the denomination’s lawbook, Bishop Mike Lowry said during the annual session of the Central Texas Conference. “An Offering for a Way Forward,” approved by the 2016 United Methodist General Conference, put the debate on human sexuality on hold until the special commission appointed by the bishops can look at all the sections of...

A Letter from the Council of Bishops about GC2016


Reviving a tradition that is more than a century old, the United Methodist Council of Bishops sent a letter to the people of The United Methodist Church following the 2016 General Conference.

Preparation for Annual Conference #4


This message is the fourth in a series from Director of Connectional Ministries Matt Curry detailing what happens at annual conference. Here he focuses on the opportunities for worship.

GC2016 passes $604 million general church budget


By Heather Hahn May 20, 2016 | PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) Goodbye, historically low budget. Hello, slight increase. General Conference delegates on May 20 approved a general church budget of $604 million for 2017-2020. That represents a slight increase over the $603.1 million approved at the 2012 General Conference. It’s also an increase over the $599 million budget proposed to the 2016 General Conference delegates, which would have been The United Methodist Church’s lowest in 16 years and meant the...

GC2016 rejects divestment on fossil fuels


By Sam Hodges May 20, 2016 | PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) After prolonged, impassioned debate, General Conference 2016 chose not to add a fossil fuels investment screen for the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits. The question came down to divestment vs. engagement as the better way to use church investments in influencing energy companies to address climate change. Ultimately, delegates voted 630-101 against amending church law to call for screening out investments in fossil fuels ...

May 19 wrap-up: New missionaries, special GC costs


By Joey Butler May 19, 2016 | PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) A day after tabling potentially contentious legislation on human sexuality, General Conference 2016 moved through its calendar at a steady clip, possibly noticing that time to finish its task is running short. Though discussion on the difficult subject was avoided, that other difficult subject — money — had to be addressed. Would the “way forward” set the church financially backward? How much does the bishops’ plan cost? The bishops’ plan to ...

May 18 wrap-up: Sexuality dominates debate in unexpected ways


Photo by Maile Bradfield, UMNS. Activists support each other following a silent march through the May 18 plenary session of the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. They are protesting what they believe is an attempt to silence LGBTQ voices. By Joey Butler May 18, 2016 | PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Last week it was debating how to debate. Today, it was voting on whether to vote. A day of tension, frustration and confusion ended in a decision to “put a pin in it.” Delegates ...

Council of Bishops: An Offering for A Way Forward


Bishop Bruce R. Ough read a statement about sexuality and the church from the denomination's Council of Bishops on May 18 at the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. Photo by Paul Jeffrey, UMNS. Full statement read by Bishop Ough: Galatians 3:25-29 (NRSV) 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with ...

General Conference adopts Bishop’s proposal after contentious debate


By Jay Voorhees, executive editor UM Reporter In what can only be called a contentious debate, the 2016 General Conference eventually adopted the Council of Bishops “Offering a Way Forward” proposal during the first-afternoon session today.  The session began with the rejection of an original motion offered by the Rev. Adam Hamilton and was marred with accusations that the presiding bishop, William McAlilly had been telegraphing votes to delegates and had undermined the process so as to cause ...

Mandatory penalties ruled unconstitutional


By Linda Bloom May 18, 2016 | PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) Imposing a mandatory penalty during the “just resolution” process for a clergyperson admitting to committing a chargeable offense is unconstitutional, The United Methodist Church’s top court has ruled. Decision 1318 from Judicial Council came after a referral May 17 from the Judicial Administration Legislative Committee of General Conference 2016 regarding its adoption of three petitions on “just resolution” that would amend Paragraphs 363.1, ...

May 17 wrap-up: Schism rumors quashed


For photos go to: By Joey Butler May 17, 2016 | PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) General Conference 2016 may have started off slowly, but it’s full steam ahead now. On a day with a full docket, delegates considered whether to give $20 million to a group of church growth consultants, whether to eliminate lifetime tenures for U.S. bishops and whether it’s time to create a new hymnal. All that while the Council of Bishops president ...

A Pastoral Response to A Love Letter To Our Church From LGBTQI Religious Leaders


We speak from among those who are called to shepherd the United Methodist flock. Our hearts break knowing that some United Methodists from their suffering and vulnerability have written a love letter to our church at great risk to themselves. These persons are self-identified LGBTQI United Methodist leaders who faithfully serve throughout our connectional church, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and transforming the world by God’s grace. On May 9th they released their letter knowing that ...

Church hanging onto unity despite cracks in the walls


Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS The Rev. Dan Bryant (center) leads fellow delegates from the East Ohio Conference in prayer May 17 following a speech by Bishop Bruce Ough in which he said the bishops are not supporting any plan for a split of The United Methodist Church during the denomination's 2016 General Conference in Portland, Ore. Updates with reaction, more quotes By Kathy L. Gilbert and Sam Hodges May 17, 2016 | PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) Bishop Bruce Ough acknowledged the pain and anger that ...

Delegates, supporters stand with LGBTQ people


Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS Delegate Fred Brewington (at microphone) asks the 2016 United Methodist General Conference meeting in Portland, Ore., to apologize to fellow delegate Dorothee Benz (second from right) after she was ruled out of order while trying to speak about issues of human sexuality in an earlier session. By Kathy L. Gilbert and Sam Hodges May 14, 2016¦PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) As lay delegate Fred Brewington rose to address the United Methodist General Conference on May 14, ...

May 14 wrap-up: Young ambassadors share hope, committee work finishes


By Barbara Dunlap-Berg May 14, 2016 | PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) Worship, an address by young people and a silent protest for LGBTQ inclusion began Day Five of General Conference 2016, which ended with final legislative committee meetings. Young people’s address inspires While only two young people spoke on the General Conference stage Saturday morning, thousands more stood with them. Chelsea Spyres of Detroit and Peter Cibuabua of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, began their witness by ...

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