By Walter B. Fenton
October 25, 2023
Plans for the Global Methodist Church’s convening General Conference in San Jose, Costa Rica, September 20 – 26, 2024, are gathering pace.
The GM Church’s Transitional Leadership Council has announced that petitions for consideration at the Conference must be received by May 23, 2024. GM Church members, whether clergy or lay, can submit petitions, but their individual petitions must be signed by at least ten other lay or clergy members. (To learn more about submitting a petition see paragraph 607.1-6 in the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline.)
“We are trying to allow as much time as possible for members and groups to submit petitions,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette, the GM Church’s Chief Connectional Officer. “However, we must allow time to have them collated, translated into five or six languages, printed, and then made available to all the delegates elected to the Conference. We want to give the delegates ample opportunity to study and consider all of them before they arrive in Costa Rica.”
Launched on May 1, 2022, with a Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline, GM Church leaders believe the delegates to the convening Conference will concentrate on high priority matters and leave other issues for future General Conferences.
Top agenda items for the convening Conference will be adopting a constitution for the Church, making numerous changes to the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline so it becomes The Book of Doctrines and Discipline, and replacing the Transitional Leadership Council and the Transitional Connectional Officer. The delegates will determine the nature of the episcopacy, organize essential commissions for the day-to-day work of the Church, and adopt a budget for the denomination. To facilitate consideration of these matters, the Transitional Leadership Council, working with the Transitional Commission on the Convening General Conference, will submit petitions addressing all of them.
“While the convening Conference will make many decisions, it is anticipated the GM Church will have to hold another General Conference in 2026 to deal with matters not addressed in 2024,” said Cara Nicklas, the Transitional Leadership Council’s Chairwoman. “As Methodists, we want to be deliberate and methodical as we move forward; we don’t want to rush ourselves into making hasty decisions. We also want to leave space for those we know will be joining us in the not-too-distant future. In the long run, we anticipate holding General Conferences every six years.”
To help facilitate the organization of the convening General Conference, the Transitional Leadership Council has approved the following legislative committees: Constitution, Conferences, Episcopacy, Judicial Administration, Connectional Organization, Financial Administration, and Ministry. As petitions are received they will be sorted and distributed to the respective committees. The Council is exploring the possibility of having legislative committees meet virtually prior to the opening day of the convening General Conference. Once elected, delegates will be assigned to legislative committees according to a method to be adopted by the Council.
“We want to create a Church that is open and fair to all its people, and most importantly enables us to fulfill its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly,” said Boyette. “As Methodists, we place a high value on connectionalism. We truly believe God works through us when, as sisters and brothers, we humbly seek his will for the Church. To be sure, it can be messy sometimes because we are frail and fallible, but thanks be to God we are redeemed and called forth to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ!”
Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University Recognized as Recommended Educational Institution
The Transitional Leadership Council is pleased to announce that Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University (Marion, Indiana) has been approved as a recommended Educational Institution of the Global Methodist Church.
The Seminary was founded in 2009 by the Wesleyan Church and Indiana Wesleyan University. Among several degrees, students can pursue a Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, and Doctor of Ministry. Current enrollment is approximately 550 students.
The GM Church requires candidates for ordination as deacons and elders to fulfill basic educational requirements prior to ordination. Candidates can complete the required classes through a course of study program, a bachelor’s degree program in ministry (for those residing in a majority-world context – outside the United States), a joint Bachelor of Arts and Master of Divinity program, a program for a Master of Arts or equivalent degree in the practice of ministry, or a Master of Divinity degree program.
Candidates may complete their educational requirements at any accredited educational institution. However, they are strongly encouraged to choose to complete their educational requirements at a school listed on the GM Church’s recommended educational institutions list.
GM Church recommended educational institutions are evaluated on a number of criteria, including: institutional integrity (whether an institution’s missions, values, and policies are consistent with and supportive of the mission, doctrine, and practice of the GM Church); financial health; and, alignment with the theological and ethical principles of the GM Church (i.e., an institution demonstrates it is supportive of and invested in sound preparation of clergy to serve in the GM Church; offers courses in Wesleyan doctrine, history, and discipline; and evidences a high commitment to Christian orthodoxy and the theological and ethical principles of the GM Church).
The Rev. Walter Fenton is the Global Methodist Church’s Deputy Connectional Officer.