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Critical Document Released for the GM Church’s Convening General Conference

Na Walter Fenton

The Global Methodist Church’s Transitional Leadership Council has announced the release of a document setting forth a plan of organization and covenants for the new Church’s convening General Conference, So the World Will Know. The 15-page document, officially entitled “The Convening General Conference: Plan of Organization and Covenant for Our Life Together,” covers everything from the nomination and election of delegates, the development of the conference’s daily agenda, and the conduct expected from all participants during the proceedings. Ultimately, the document will undergo a vote and be officially adopted by the delegates chosen to participate in the Conference. If they see fit, the delegates have the option to make amendments to it.

Global Methodists are eagerly anticipating the upcoming General Conference with feelings of joy and gratitude, yet also a hint of apprehension. The main reason many of them left The United Methodist Church stemmed from the increasing bitter debates and the disruptive protests that occurred at its General Conferences, and ultimately the unwillingness or inability of denominational leaders to follow the will of its quadrennial gatherings.

“We are keenly aware how important it is that our convening General Conference be orderly, efficient, and above all, God honoring,” said the Rev. Beth Ann Cook, the chairwoman of the GM Church’s Transitional Commission on the Convening General Conference. “Those important aspects of the conference do not just happen, they require detailed planning and the willingness of delegates, presiding officers, and observers to adhere to a covenant grounded in Christian ethics and principles.”

Given the transitional nature of the Church and the essential matters that must be approved at its initial gathering, organizers are preparing a limited agenda as delegates gather in San Jose, Costa Rica, September 20-26, 2024. High on the list of priorities are ample time for worship, the adoption of a constitution, deliberation over critical legislation, and special times for thanks and praise. While many leaders believe the General Conferences will eventually occur every six years (the decision will be in the hands of duly elected delegates to the convening Conference), they also think the nascent Church will require a special follow-up General Conference in 2026.

“Even a cursory review of the plan of organization and the covenants will help GM Church members understand how much work and preparation has been done for our convening General Conference,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette, the denomination’s transitional connectional officer. “The plan and covenants are for all members of the GM Church; they explain things like what petitions will be prioritized at the initial gathering based on its limited agenda. The plan carefully spells out which paragraphs in the Transitional Book of Doctrines and Discipline will be open for amending.”

The document further identifies the administrative and legislative committees of the Conference, outlining their duties and responsibilities. To work as efficiently as possible while in Costa Rica, organizers are facilitating pre-Conference virtual meetings of its various committees. At these meetings committee members will elect their officers and begin work related to the petitions and topics assigned to them.

“The nuts-and-bolts of planning a major conference doesn’t necessarily warm our hearts,” said John Lomperis, the convening General Conference’s business manager, “But whether we’re attending a small committee meeting in our local church or a major gathering like General Conference, we can all tell the difference between a well-organized meeting and one going off the rails. Plans and covenants are developed so we wisely use our financial resources, honor everyone’s time, and most importantly, organize the Church so it can most effectively fulfill its mission to make a disciples of Jesus Christ who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly.”

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Mchungaji Walter Fenton ni Kanisa la Methodist UlimwenguniNaibu Waziri wa Mambo ya Ndani ya Nchi Mhe.

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