United Methodist Church General Conference 2016

The UMC General Conference is May 10th - 20th in Portland, Oregon.  We will be posting information throughout the conference to keep you informed. Continue to pray for our delegates that are serving the United Methodist Church. 

General Conference 2016 Wrap Up: North Georgia Edition

 

After 10 days, plus a Sabbath, the United Methodist Church’s top legislative body adjourned May 20. General Conference is the body responsible for revising church law and adopting resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs. This year's General Conference delegates considered hundreds of pieces of legislation, passed a $604 Million church budget, and called on the Council of Bishops to shepherd "a way forward" for unity on the topic of human sexuality and other matters. If you know one of North Georgia's delegation, please reach out and let them know how thankful you are for their service.

Council of Bishops Follows Tradition with Letter to the Church

Reviving a tradition that is more than a century old, the United Methodist Council of Bishops sent a letter today to the people of The United Methodist Church following the 2016 General Conference, held in Portland, Oregon, May 10-20.
READ LETTER 

Votes of Note

Read about some of the legislation that passed and other petitions that were not approved by General Conference 2016.
VOTES OF NOTE  

News from GC2016

Farewell Portland. Thanks for the Donuts: Read the UMNS Wrap Up
Read Full United Methodist News Service coverage of GC2016 


General Conference 2016 Update: Day 10

 

General Conference 2016 Adjourns
After 10 days of powerful worship, intense discussion, and prayerful discernment, General Conference 2016 adjourned Friday evening. 

GC2016 Passes $604 Million General Church Budget
General Conference delegates on May 20 approved a general church budget of $604 million for 2017-2020. That budget proposal came from the board of the General Council on Finance and Administration and the Connectional Table, which coordinates the denomination’s agencies. Delegates voted to add $5 million to double the denomination’s financial backing of the Central Conference Theological Education Fund. Funds help with such denomination-wide endeavors as planting new churches, providing resources for evangelism, supporting theological education, advocating for church social teachings, engaging in international development and cultivating new mission fields.

"The budget passed is less than the amount originally proposed a few weeks ago, which will result in an adjustment to the recommended annual conference budget," explained North Georgia Conference treasurer Keith Cox. "The adjustment means that the Treasurer's Office will reduce the recommended North Georgia Conference budget based on the General Conference budget passed today. The revised schedules will be posted on the website and made available to AC members in the tote bags." 

READ MORE 

Celebrating Milestones
This week the General Conference paused to celebrate historic milestones. Those included the 60th anniversary of the Methodist Church granting full clergy rights to women (view a timeline of Women in Methodism), the 200th anniversary of Francis Asbury’s death (watch Chuck Knows Church Francis Asbury episode), and a recognition of the 30th anniversary of Disciple Bible Study.

God is Not Finished With Us Yet: Stanovsky Preaches Morning Worship
On the last day of the 2016 General Conference, Bishop Elaine Stanovsky of the Mountain Sky Episcopal Area reminded those attending that “we will not leave divided because God is not finished with us yet!” As she recalled Jesus’ resurrection story in the book of Matthew, she asked each person to “get out of that tomb.”
READ MORE 

Pray, Sing, Clap and Amen: Worship at General Conference

 

"We were not of one opinion but we were of one heart challenged to come as we are but not to stay that way. We were called to make courageous decisions, take risks, and break barriers the way John Wesley did when hepreached beyond the privileged. We were told that we would experience transformation that turns the world upside down. We were called to be a counter culture and to go in the name of Jesus of Palestine not Jesus of Constantinople. Our rich Wesleyan heritage is found among the least of these."
—Pamela Duncan on experiencing worship in Portland
(Pictured is Bishop James Swanson, Jr., preaching on May 18.)
READ MORE 

Sermons from GC2016

Bishop Stanovsky: ‘We will not leave divided’ 
Bishop Yambasu: Go … with passion and compassion
Bishop Swanson: ‘Evil is going, too.’
Bishop Abrahams urges Wesleyan commitment to marginalized
Bishop Harvey: ‘Wear the robe like it matters’
Bishop Devadhar: Listen to each other and God
Bishop Dyck says pope inspired her 

Votes of Note (UMNS)

  • After prolonged, impassioned debate, delegates 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 companies.
  • An amendment offered during debate on socially responsible investing that sought to divest from illegal settlements on occupied lands failed 559-167. Earlier in the General Conference, the Financial Administration Legislative Committee failed to support any petition calling for divestment from companies doing business in Israel. Delegates also adopted an amended petition on behalf of a Palestinian village, Wadi Foquin, where United Methodists support an Advance project and community development site. The petition calls on General Conference to send letters to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other State Department officials, U.S. President Barack Obama, the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and the Israeli Civil Authority to express “our concerns over the confiscation of land and destruction of life in the village.”
  • By a vote of 509-242, delegates just exceeded the two-thirds threshold needed to support amending the article on “Inclusiveness in the Church in the denomination’s constitution. The amendment adds “gender” and “age” to the list of qualities that will not be discriminated against in the life, worship and governance of the church. The amendment is structured to preserve United Methodist groups based on gender or age, such as church youth groups. Now, the constitutional amendment heads to annual conferences, where it needs two-thirds of the total vote of members to be ratified.
  • A petition calling for a mandatory vote on all proposed legislation sent to the next General Conference was approved by a vote of 406 to 361. All petitions submitted to General Conference “shall receive the vote of a legislative committee” and all petitions approved by legislative committees “shall receive a vote by the plenary session at that year’s General Conference.” Considering how many petitions weren’t voted on before this General Conference ended, one wonders if GC2020 will need to last a month. 

2020 General Conference To Be Held in Minneapolis
Minneapolis, Minn. will be the site of the 2020 General Conference, tentatively scheduled for May 5-15, 2020. Minneapolis is part of the Minnesota Annual Conference, which has more than 70,000 members and 353 congregations, and along with the Dakotas Conference, constitutes the Dakotas-Minnesota Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church.

Photo File

 

See North Georgia's photos from Week 2
VIEW PHOTOS 

See United Methodist News Service photos.
VIEW UMNS PHOTOS 

 

 

Spotlight on Our Delegation

Today we caught up with two North Georgia lay delegates at the Convention Center.

Jeff Jernigan
Lay delegate Jeff Jernigan tells us about Sunday worship, inspiring people, and one thing we should look forward to and learn about in mission. 
READ INTERVIEW

Randy Brown
Randy Brown shares about how Leadership UMC prepared him to be a lay delegate to General Conference. 
READ INTERVIEW 

 

General Conference Resources

For analysis, news stories, and follow up: 

Live Stream Archives
Find on-demand and downloadable versions of the daily General Conference plenary sessions, worship, and addresses.
VIEW ARCHIVES

Legislation Tracking
Search for legislation submitted by petition number, keyword or submitter for information regarding the actions taken on each piece of legislation. 
TRACK LEGISLATION 

General Conference Website
Continue to read news from General Conference 2016 at the General Conference website. 
VIEW SITE 

Social Media
Follow the hashtags #UMCGC and #GC2016

North Georgia Conference GC2016 Webpage
Find news and information from the North Georgia Conference relating to Genral Conference
VIEW PAGE  

 

Daily Update Archives

Day 9 Update 
Day 8 Update
Day 7 Update 
Day 6 Update 
Weekend Update 
Day 4 Update 
Day 3 Update 
Day 2 Update 
Day 1 Update
Pre General Conference Update 

 


General Conference 2016 Update: Day 9

29 New Missionaries Commissioned at General Conference
“We commission you to take the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ into all the world.” Twenty-nine times the ancient phrase was intoned as The United Methodist Church sent new missionaries from 11 countries to serve in 16 lands. The liturgy of commissioning, both solemn and joyful, was believed to be the first as part of a United Methodist General Conference. The new missionaries will serve as church developers, chaplains, teachers, health practitioners or administrators, agricultural specialists and youth workers. Six of the 29 will work in the health field. Four will engage in ministries with migrants. North Georgia clergy delegate Rev. Nora Colmenares leads newly commissioned missionaries into worship. (Photo by Maile Bradfield, UMNS.)
READ MORE 

Bishop Watson Honored as Retiree, Incoming Leader
On Thursday, Bishop Mike Watson was honored along with retiring bishops by the General Conference plenary. He was also acknowledged for his future role as Ecumenical Officer for the Council of Bishops in September. He is pictured with other incoming leaders in the Council of Bishops, Bruce R. Ough, president; Cynthia Fierro Harvey, secretary; and Marcus Matthews, executive secretary. (Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS)
READ MORE 

Votes of Note (UMNS)

  • Delegates overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on United Methodist agencies to raise awareness about the harm caused by sports teams that use mascots or symbols that disrespect Native Americans. The petition had been amended in the Discipleship Committee, deleting language that would have called on United Methodist groups not to have meetings in cities that have sports teams with such mascots or symbols, which previous church resolutions contained. READ MORE
  • Delegates voted to create a new provisional central conference in Southeast Asia and Mongolia.
  • A petition to withdraw denominational membership from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice was passed, as was a second petition to remove language supporting the coalition from the Book of Resolutions. The United Methodist Church was a founding member of the organization in 1973 and the United Methodist Board of Church and Society and United Methodist Women are currently members.  
  • Delegates voted to adopt a petition updating the language of the “Health Care for All in the United States” entry in the Book of Resolutions. The amendment features updated language to reflect changes in health care delivery in the United States during the previous quadrennium.
  • Delegates defeated Thursday, by a vote of 336 to 446, a petition titled “Confronting Twenty-First-Century Anti-Semitism.” The committee that handled the petition had not supported it, instead backing one titled “Called to Be Neighbors and Witnesses: Guidelines for Interreligious Relationships.”  

Photo File

See North Georgia's photos from the day.
VIEW PHOTOS 

See United Methodist News Service photos.
VIEW UMNS PHOTOS 

 

    Schedule for Friday, May 20

    Note: Times are Pacific Standard Time

    8:00 a.m. - Reports/Calendar Items & Conference Business
    9:55 a.m. - Vital Congregation Moments
    10:20 a.m. - Calendar Items & Conference Business
    2:00 p.m. - Calendar Items & Conference Business
    4:20 p.m. - Calendar Items & Conference Business/Closing Worship/Final Adjournment

    View Streaming Schedule 

    General Conference Resources

    Schedule
    This agenda shows the overall program of the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon.
    VIEW SCHEDULE

    Legislation Tracking
    Search for legislation submitted by petition number, keyword or submitter. Once General Conference begins, the information will be updated regarding the actions taken on each piece of legislation. 
    TRACK LEGISLATION 

    Guide to General Conference
    An important resource for delegates, church members and journalists, this guide contains information about the conference schedule, the legislative process and historical background.
    VIEW GUIDE 


    General Conference 2016 Update: Day 8

    Council of Bishops Proposes a Way Forward,
    Delegates Approve Plan
    Wednesday morning Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the Council of Bishops and leader of the Dakotas-Minnesota Episcopal Area, addressed the General Conference. He presented "An Offering for a New Way Forward" as a follow-up to Tuesday's motion asking the Council of Bishops to present a possible plan. After discussion Wednesday afternoon, General Conference delegates voted 428 to 405 to accept the recommendations of the Council of Bishops.    
    READ MORE
    Read UMNS Story "GC2016 Puts Hold on Sexuality Debate"  

    Bishop James Swanson Preaches Morning Worship, Warning to Be Mindful of Evil
    (UMNS) All have sinned and all are in need of cleansing and no one is exempt from actions that are inconsistent with God’s desire for them, said Bishop James Swanson of the Mississippi Annual Conference.  He also preached that evil is always looking for a home and people should be mindful of that. “Evil is not content to be by itself. Evil loves to party and you can’t party by yourself, so evil runs in a pack,” he said. “When evil finds a home that is hospitable, evil goes and gets its crew.”  
    READ MORE

    North Georgia Episcopal Nominee Rev. Sharma Lewis speaks to SEJ Delegates
    Rev. Sharma Lewis, Atlanta-Decatur-Oxford District superintendent, addressed a lunch gathering of Southeastern Jurisdiction delegates and guests. Each of the SEJ's 14 episcopal candidates spoke during the General Conference lunch break, seven speaking Tuesday and seven on Wednesday. Rev. Lewis thanked the delegates for their encouragement of her and expressed her passion for inviting people to believe in and serve Jesus Christ and making a difference in the effectiveness of ministry. 
    READ MORE

    “Our God is Able!” Imagine No Malaria Celebration Rocks the House
    Celebrating the success of the Imagine No Malaria initiative, launched in 2008, speakers, singers and dancers offered even more for United Methodists attending General Conference 2016 to imagine – Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children. “What began with the bite of a mosquito has transformed into a faith-driven global health movement. Together, we have imagined No Malaria. Now let us imagine abundant health.” 

    The celebration included the debut of  “Able,” a song commissioned by Imagine No Malaria as a gift to United Methodists across the globe. Jeremy Rosado, a Top 12 contestant on “American Idol,” performed the song for more than 1,000 people attending the Conference. The song is available as a free download at Amazon Music and the Imagine No Malaria website, as well as on YouTube.
    READ MORE
    "ABLE" MUSIC, LYRICS, RESOURCES
    "ABLE" AMAZON MUSIC FREE DOWNLOAD 

    Mandatory Penalties Ruled Unconstitutional
    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. 
    READ MORE 

    Photo File

    See North Georgia's photos from the day.
    VIEW PHOTOS 

    See United Methodist News Service photos.
    VIEW UMNS PHOTOS 

     

    Spotlight on Our Delegation

    Today we caught up with two of North Georgia's delegation at the Convention Center.

    Rev. Dr. P. Alice Rogers
    Clergy delegate Rev. Dr. Alice Rogers shares about a leader who inspired her in Portland and how her church is praying for General Conference. 
    READ INTERVIEW

    Rev. Dr. Richard Winn
    Clergy delegate Rev. Dr. Richard Winn tells us about worship at General Conference.
    WATCH VIDEO 

    Schedule for Thursday, May 19

    Note: Times are Pacific Standard Time

    8:00 a.m. - Worship, Commissioning of Missionaries [Download program] (11:00 a.m. EST)
    9:00 a.m. - Reports/Calendar Items & Conference Business
    9:55 a.m. - Vital Congregation Moments
    10:20 a.m. - Calendar Items & Conference Business
    12:29 p.m. - 200th Anniversary: Death of Francis Asbury
    2:00 p.m. - Calendar Items & Conference Business
    3:58 p.m. - Recognition of Neil M. Alexander
    4:20 p.m. - Calendar Items & Conference Business
    6:00 p.m. - Report from the Committee on Peace
    6:10 p.m. - Closing Devotion

    View Streaming Schedule 

    General Conference Resources

    Schedule
    This agenda shows the overall program of the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon.
    VIEW SCHEDULE

    Legislation Tracking
    Search for legislation submitted by petition number, keyword or submitter. Once General Conference begins, the information will be updated regarding the actions taken on each piece of legislation. 
    TRACK LEGISLATION 

    Guide to General Conference
    An important resource for delegates, church members and journalists, this guide contains information about the conference schedule, the legislative process and historical background.
    VIEW GUIDE 

    Following General Conference
    There are multiple ways you can follow along with General Conference 2016. 

    Live Stream: http://umc.org/live
    General Conference website: http://www.umc.org/topics/general-conference-2016
    North Georgia Conference website: www.ngumc.org/GC2016
    General Conference App: App Store or Google Play
    Social Media: Follow the hashtag #UMCGC
    Subscribe to the NGUMC General Conference Update: http://northga-email.brtapp.com/subscribe 


    General Conference 2016 Update: Day 7

    Candler Presence, Ecumenical Day, and a Call for Unity
    As the day began, Bishop Mike Watson greeted leaders from a variety of faith traditions who were invited guests to General Conference on Ecumenical Day. (Pictured with The Rt. Rev. Michael Hanley of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon and Mary Jo Tully, Chancellor, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.) Bishop Mary Ann Swenson introduced the nearly 40 guests during opening worship. Bishop Ivan M. Abrahams, top executive of the World Methodist Council, preached, inviting the conference to talk about what type of church we want to be: the church of “the least of these” or the church of the status quo. Members of the combined seminary choirs fromCandler School of Theology, Boston University, and Perkins sang during the service. 

    At the start of the morning plenary Bishop Ough of the Dakotas-Minnesota Episcopal Area spoke on behalf of the Council of Bishops expressing support for unity after rumors that a plan for schism was underway. Bishop Watson affirmed that call for unit, saying:

    "Within thye Church we are called to work and pray for more Christ-like unity with each other rather than separation from one another," said Bishop Mike Watson. "This is the prayer of Jesus in John 17:21-23." 

    North Georgia delegation chair Mathew Pinson presented legislation from his sub committee seeking to perfect Disciplinary language relating to funding of Central Conference theological education. The legislation passed as presented. It states that all money in excess of $750,000 collected by central conference apportionments for the General Administration Fund will now be directed to the education fund. 

    Voting continued through the afternoon. Clergy delegate Rev. Dr. Alice Rogers participated in the closing devotion at the session's end. This evening a Candler School of Theology dinner was held at the Convention Center where alumni and friends gathered to celebrate Candler. The Candler Singers, led by Barbara Day Miller, performed.

    News

    Council of Bishops Affirms Unity of the Church, Called to Make a Report Wednesday
    Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the Council of Bishops, addressed the General Conference today, asking for a point of privilege to discuss rumors of a plan for schism. Bishop Ough confirmed that the Council of Bishop is in talks with a number of groups across the denomination, but that the Council believes we are called to maintain unity. North Georgia Bishop Mike Watson affirms that message saying: "Within the Church we are called to work and pray for more Christ-like unity with each other rather than separation from one another. This is the prayer of Jesus in John 17:21-23." 

    Later in the day, the body passed a motion asking the Council of Bishops to meet and bring back a report tomorrow offering advice on a path forward. (Photo by UMNS)
    READ MORE

    Green Light for New Hymnal Project
    (UMNS) The United Methodist Church is on track to get its first new hymnal since 1989, and this one will be Internet-cloud based and print-on-demand — the first high-tech hymnal for a mainline denomination. General Conference 2016 approved on a consent calendar Tuesday, May 17, a petition authorizing the creation of a 15-member Hymnal Revision Committee. 
    READ MORE 

    Term Limits for Bishops Fails
    Term limits for United Methodist bishops got strong support in a vote at General Conference 2016, but fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to change the church constitution.
    READ MORE 

    Other Votes of Note
    (UMNS)

    • During the afternoon plenary, delegates approved calendar items related to the Asian American Language Ministry Plan, the Pacific Islander Ministry Plan, the National Plan for Hispanic Ministry and the Korean Ministry Plan as well as Accessibility Grants for Churches and the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund.
    • Deacons now have fewer hoops to jump through to request permission to administer sacraments. A petition passed that allows deacons to contact their resident bishop directly to ask for permission. Previously, the pastor-in-charge or district superintendent had to make the request on the deacon’s behalf.
    • Delegates approved a constitutional amendment that would allow General Conference to set provisions for the Council of Bishops to hold its individual members accountable for their work. They also approved legislation that alters the complaint process against bishops. The new measure sets a definitive timeline of 180 days to try to resolve a complaint in the denomination’s supervisory process within the College of Bishops. The legislation also allows the Council of Bishops at any time to remove the complaint from the College of Bishops with a two-thirds vote of the council.
    • Two new special Sundays without offering were created: Women’s Ministry Sunday may be observed annually on a Sunday designated by the annual conference; Volunteers In Mission Awareness Sunday shall be observed annually on a date determined by the local congregation.

    Photo File

    See North Georgia's photos from the day.
    VIEW PHOTOS 

    See United Methodist News Service photos.
    VIEW UMNS PHOTOS 

     

    Spotlight on Our Delegation

    Today we caught up with two of North Georgia's delegation at the Convention Center.

    Bill Stikes
    Lay delegate Bill Stikes shares about inspirational United Methodists he's met in Portland and how he's .
    WATCH VIDEO

    Rev. Jim Cantrell
    Clergy delegate Rev. Jim Cantrell shares about ecumenical day, and how his church is praying for General Conference.
    WATCH VIDEO 

      Schedule for Wednesday, May 18

      Note: Times are Pacific Standard Time

      8:00 a.m. - Worship (11:00 a.m. EST) 
      9:00 a.m. - Reports/Calendar Items & Conference Business
      9:48 a.m. - Imagine No Malaria
      10:20 a.m. - Calendar Items & Conference Business
      12:18 p.m. Global AIDS Report
      12:25 p.m. Vital Congregations Moments
      2:00 p.m. Calendar Items & Conference Business
      3:51 p.m. General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits Report
      3:58 p.m. 30th Anniversary: Disciple Bible Study
      4:20 p.m. Calendar Items & Conference Business
      5:40 p.m. Report on the Sand Creek Massacre
      6:10 p.m. Closing Devotion

      View Streaming Schedule 

      General Conference Resources

      Schedule
      This agenda shows the overall program of the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon.
      VIEW SCHEDULE

      Legislation Tracking
      Search for legislation submitted by petition number, keyword or submitter. Once General Conference begins, the information will be updated regarding the actions taken on each piece of legislation. 
      TRACK LEGISLATION 

      Guide to General Conference
      An important resource for delegates, church members and journalists, this guide contains information about the conference schedule, the legislative process and historical background.
      VIEW GUIDE 

      Following General Conference
      There are multiple ways you can follow along with General Conference 2016. 

       


        General Conference 2016 Update: Day 6

        North Georgia UMs Participate in Worship, Reports, Press Conferences and More

         

        North Georgia United Methodists were visible as participants and speakers throughout Monday's General Conference. 
        Rev. Dr. Nora Colmenares took part in the call to worship this morning. Two North Georgia laity, John Jessup Peterson and Rene Grant, were consecrated as Deaconess and Home Missioner.
        Rev. Olu Brown (pictured) represented church planters in the report of the Four Areas of Focus. The General Conference conducted elections, including Judicial Council, in which North Georgia lay delegate Joe Wesley Kilpatrick was voted as third alternate. Gammon Theological Seminary held a luncheon in Portland. And young adult Ariel Murphy was part of a United Methodist Women's press conference at which she spoke about starting a UMW unit on the campus of Reinhardt University.
        Today also marked celebrations including the coming 25th anniversary of Africa University and success stories from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. During the afternoon session, the plenary paused for a Black Lives Matter demonstration.
        (Photo by Luke Lucas/AWFUMC) 

        News

        North Georgia Laity Consecrated as Deaconess and Home Missioner

         

        Two North Georgia United Methodist laity, John Jessup-Peterson and Rene Grant, were among the Deaconesses and Home Missioners commissioned at General Conference during morning worship on Monday, May 16. Deaconesses and Home Missioners are laywomen and laymen who are called by God to be in a lifetime relationship in The United Methodist Church for engagement with a full-time vocation in ministries of love, justice, and service.
        READ MORE  
        Watch John Jessup-Peterson's interview in the General Conference Digital Lounge
        WATCH 

        Clergy-Related Petitions Pass GC2016
        (UMNS) A few petitions affecting United Methodist clergy either were approved by General Conference 2016 or are highly likely to be, having made it onto the consent calendar. Among them was one from the Ministry Study Commission titled “Deepening the Theology of Ordination.” But a renewed effort that would have begun the process to remove the constitutional bar to  end guaranteed appointment for ordained elders failed in committee, as did an “early ordination” petition.
        READ MORE

         

        UMW Day at General Conference
        (UMNS) Nearly 150 years later, members of United Methodist Women “are living out the same commitments as our predecessors” for spiritual growth, service and advocacy for women, children and youth, says Harriett Olson, UMW’s top executive. Today at General Conference United Methodist Women held the consecration of deaconesses and home missioners; held a lunchtime public witness on water rights outside on the Oregon Convention Center Plaza, delivered the UMW report, and finished the day with a meet-and-greet with UMW delegates, staff and members. At a UMW press conference, Ariel Murphy (pictured) spoke about starting a UMW unit at Reinhardt University. 
        READ MORE

        Indigenous Filipinos Bring Pleas for Justice
        (UMNS) Lumads, the indigenous people of Southern Philippines, have been the target of cruelty for decades. A small group of Lumads are in the United States to bring the atrocities to light. On May 16, the 2016 United Methodist General Conference viewed a video produced by United Methodist Communications. Kathy L. Gilbert and Gladys Mangiduyos have the story. 
        READ MORE

        Photo File

         

        See North Georgia's photos from the day.
        VIEW PHOTOS 

        See United Methodist News Service photos.
        VIEW UMNS PHOTOS 

         

         

        Spotlight on Our Delegation

        North Georgia's delegation transitioned from legislative committee work of week one to the discussion and decision making process that is week two of General Conference. We caught up with two of our delegation members at the Convention Center. 

        Tonya Murphy
        On UMW day, lay delegate Tonya Murphy tell us about the 150th anniversary celebration, why she's passionate about including the voice of young people, and her favorite thing about Portland.
        WATCH VIDEO

        Rev. Dr. Ed Tomlinson 
        As General Conference transitions from Week One to Week Two Rev. Dr. Ed Tomlinson walks us through what's different.
        READ INTERVIEW

        Rev. Herzen Andone
        We met up with Rev. Herzen Andone (pictured in Portland) to hear about an inspiring new friend from the British Methodist Church and advice for future delegates.
        WATCH VIDEO 

         

        •  

        Schedule for Tuesday, May 17

        Note: Times are Pacific Standard Time

        8:00 a.m. - Worship (11:00 a.m. EST)
        9:00 a.m. - Reports
        10:20 a.m. - Calendar Items & Conference Business
        2:00 p.m. - Calendar Items & Conference Business
        4:20 p.m. - Calendar Items & Conference Business
        6:03 p.m. - "Missing in Action" - United Methodist Men
        6:10 p.m. - Closing Devotion

        View Streaming Schedule 

         

        General Conference Resources

        Schedule
        This agenda shows the overall program of the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon.
        VIEW SCHEDULE

        Legislation Tracking
        Search for legislation submitted by petition number, keyword or submitter. Once General Conference begins, the information will be updated regarding the actions taken on each piece of legislation. 
        TRACK LEGISLATION 

        Guide to General Conference
        An important resource for delegates, church members and journalists, this guide contains information about the conference schedule, the legislative process and historical background.
        VIEW GUIDE 

        Following General Conference
        There are multiple ways you can follow along with General Conference 2016. 

         

        Daily Update Archives

        Weekend Update 
        Day 4 Update 
        Day 3 Update 
        Day 2 Update 
        Day 1 Update
        Pre General Conference Update


        General Conference 2016 Update: Day 5

        North Georgia UMs Participate in Worship, Reports, Press Conferences and More

         

        North Georgia United Methodists were visible as participants and speakers throughout Monday's General Conference. 
        Rev. Dr. Nora Colmenares took part in the call to worship this morning. Two North Georgia laity, John Jessup Peterson and Rene Grant, were consecrated as Deaconess and Home Missioner.
        Rev. Olu Brown (pictured) represented church planters in the report of the Four Areas of Focus. The General Conference conducted elections, including Judicial Council, in which North Georgia lay delegate Joe Wesley Kilpatrick was voted as third alternate. Gammon Theological Seminary held a luncheon in Portland. And young adult Ariel Murphy was part of a United Methodist Women's press conference at which she spoke about starting a UMW unit on the campus of Reinhardt University.
        Today also marked celebrations including the coming 25th anniversary of Africa University and success stories from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. During the afternoon session, the plenary paused for a Black Lives Matter demonstration.
        (Photo by Luke Lucas/AWFUMC) 

        News

        North Georgia Laity Consecrated as Deaconess and Home Missioner

         

        Two North Georgia United Methodist laity, John Jessup-Peterson and Rene Grant, were among the Deaconesses and Home Missioners commissioned at General Conference during morning worship on Monday, May 16. Deaconesses and Home Missioners are laywomen and laymen who are called by God to be in a lifetime relationship in The United Methodist Church for engagement with a full-time vocation in ministries of love, justice, and service.
        READ MORE  
        Watch John Jessup-Peterson's interview in the General Conference Digital Lounge
        WATCH 

        Clergy-Related Petitions Pass GC2016
        (UMNS) A few petitions affecting United Methodist clergy either were approved by General Conference 2016 or are highly likely to be, having made it onto the consent calendar. Among them was one from the Ministry Study Commission titled “Deepening the Theology of Ordination.” But a renewed effort that would have begun the process to remove the constitutional bar to  end guaranteed appointment for ordained elders failed in committee, as did an “early ordination” petition.
        READ MORE

         

        UMW Day at General Conference
        (UMNS) Nearly 150 years later, members of United Methodist Women “are living out the same commitments as our predecessors” for spiritual growth, service and advocacy for women, children and youth, says Harriett Olson, UMW’s top executive. Today at General Conference United Methodist Women held the consecration of deaconesses and home missioners; held a lunchtime public witness on water rights outside on the Oregon Convention Center Plaza, delivered the UMW report, and finished the day with a meet-and-greet with UMW delegates, staff and members. At a UMW press conference, Ariel Murphy (pictured) spoke about starting a UMW unit at Reinhardt University. 
        READ MORE

        Indigenous Filipinos Bring Pleas for Justice
        (UMNS) Lumads, the indigenous people of Southern Philippines, have been the target of cruelty for decades. A small group of Lumads are in the United States to bring the atrocities to light. On May 16, the 2016 United Methodist General Conference viewed a video produced by United Methodist Communications. Kathy L. Gilbert and Gladys Mangiduyos have the story. 
        READ MORE


        Conference Update: From Mathew A. Pinson and Sharma D. Lewis

         

        John Wesley is noted as saying, "Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike?" 

        This is important to remember while at General Conference.

        The first week of General Conference is now finished. We now are preparing for the second and final week where delegates will meet in plenary session to debate and vote on various petitions coming from each Legislative Committee. Please be in prayer for our North Georgia Delegation as we prepare to take action on many important petitions. Specifically, please pray for the unity of the Church.

        As you follow the work of the General Conference please remember that the mission of The United Methodist Church is, "To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world." Most of all, remember that the local church is the most significant arena through which Christian discipleship occurs! There is absolutely nothing more important than the work of ministry through our local congregations.

        Mathew A. Pinson is Chair of the North Georgia Delegation and Rev. Sharma D. Lewis is Vice Chair of the North Georgia Delegation. They are pictured at the 2015 North Georgia Annual Conference.


        General Conference 2016 Update: Day4

        Go Learn Mercy: Day Four Includes Worship, Reports, Legislative Committees

         

        The fourth day of the 2016 General Conference began with a morning of inspiring worship and a message by Bishop Sally Dyck of the Northern Illinois Conference. North Georgia clergy delegate Rev. Byron Thomas (pictured, right) took part in the morning call to worship. Delegates heard the laity address, the Connectional Table report, and the General Council on Finance and Administration report, before spending much of the day in legislative committees. 
        Photo by Maile Bradifeld, UMNS

        News

        Connectional Table Reports Number of Highly Vital Churches Has Risen
        The Rev. Amy Valdez Barker, the top executive of the Connectional Table and an ordained deacon in the North Georgia Conference, emphasized the collaborative engagement of the Connectional Table and other church leadership bodies during the past four years. This includes work on more globally relevant Social Principles and a more globally applicable Book of Discipline that are expected to come before the 2020 General Conference. Valdez Barker also spoke of the Connectional Table’s work with general agencies to direct resources and provide tools to foster vitality among local churches. The percentage of “highly vital” U.S. congregations grew from 15 percent in 2010 to 23 percent in 2014. 

        Sixth-Grader Answers Call to Help Get Clean Water
        (UMNS) Hannah Foust, as a United Methodist sixth-grader in Indiana, saw a video about the desperate need for clean water in Burkina Faso and knew God was calling her to help. She set out to raise funds for clean water wells, and inspired other United Methodists to join the effort. Two years later, Foust and those she’s inspired have raised funds for 16 water wells. Foust, now 14, credits her United Methodist upbringing — and the United Methodist connection — with helping to make the work possible.

        Good News from General Council on Finance and Administration
        Moses Kumar, the top executive of the General Council on Finance and Administration, reported good news in church giving as he presented details about the budget that the conference body will vote upon next week. He referenced the ministry of The United Methodist Church in The Philippines, a North Georgia Conference Bridges partner. "Because of our work together we have made an impact," he said. In 2015, a record 26 U.S. conferences paid full apportionments to support the general church — the highest number in the 16 years that the church has kept digital records. United Methodists gave more than $130.6 million to general church funds, nearly 92 percent of the requested apportionments.

        Read United Methodist News Service's article on these three reports, "What Churchgoers Can Do Together"

         

        Glenn Memorial Children Send Paper Lanterns for Vigil
        A climate vigil, organized by the Pacific Northwest Conference, was held May 12 at the Oregon Convention Center’s outdoor plaza. The twilight event featured decorated paper lanterns lit by small LED lights, music and testimony from United Methodists representing the global church. Paper lanterns were decorated and sent from churches across the connection including Glenn Memorial UMC on Emory University's campus. "Glenn Memorial children decorated the paper lanterns during our churchwide prayer service for General Conference on Sunday, May 1," explained Rev. Susan Pinson. "Adults and children alike filled out prayer cards that were brought to the altar during communion and Pastor Alice Rogers took them with her to General conference. Children colored the prayer lanterns and brought them forward during communion."
        Read UMNS "Prayers, Paper Lanterns, at Climate Vigil"

        Laity Address: Share Jesus With the World
        (UMNS) Lay members of The United Methodist Church admonished their peers who are delegates to General Conference to remember that they share in the responsibility of making disciples of Jesus Christ in the world. The May 13 Laity Address included lay leaders from the Upper New York, Virginia, Missouri, Tennessee, Zimbabwe and Great Plains conferences, with each sharing a sense of urgency for the people in local churches around the world to do more to share the love and mercy available to all through Jesus Christ.
        READ MORE 

         

        Reflection

         

        Watching the Process, Watching for God
        "This week a new technology was introduced for the delegates to use when they wanted to speak during plenary sessions. There was some confusion about who was up next or which microphone they were supposed to use. some delegates reverted back to the placard system out of frustration. Others, who had been waiting a long time to hear their name called, just got up and stood in line at the closest microphone. I kept thinking, where is God in all of this confusion?
        My question was answered in the legislative committee I attended that afternoon."
        READ MORE

         

        Spotlight on Our Delegation

        North Georgia's delegation will continue their legislative work into Saturday. We caught up with a few of our delegation members at the Convention Center to hear about Week One of General Conference.

        Mathew Pinson
        We met up with our delegation chair Mathew Pinson on the floor of General Conference to find out about highlights this week, the Finance and Administration committee, and advice for future delegates.
        Watch Video

         

        Rev. Dr. Phil Schroeder
        Clergy delegate Phil Schroeder (pictured) took a few minutes to talk to us about what an impact Disciple Bible Study had on his life and about his work this week. 
        Watch Video

        Rev. Byron Thomas
        Rev. Byron Thomas, also a clergy delegate, shared about his committee work and his hopes for General Conference.
        Read Interview

         

        •  

        General Conference 2016 Update: Day 3

        North Georgia Delegates Pinson and Savage Serving in Leadership Roles
        Yesterday each legislative committee elected three officers: a chair, vice-chair and secretary. In some cases, committees formed sub-committees and chairs were elected for those as well. Among those elected for leadership was Mathew Pinson who was elected as the chair of Sub-Committee 1 of the Finance and Administration. Pinson is chair of the North Georgia Conference delegation.

        Rev. Chuck Savage is serving as the chair of the Committee on Reference, an administrativecommittee of General Conference. This committee reviews the assignment of petitions, reports, recommendations and resolutions to the legislative committees and meets each morning before sessions begin. Then Savage continues his work as a North Georgia Conference clergy delegate serving on the Local Church Legislative Committee. 
        READ MORE 
         

        Update: After Much Discussion, Rule 44 Does Not Pass
        On Thursday morning delegates returned to discussion on the alternative legislative discernment process known as Rule 44. After much discussion, delegates voted against Rule 44 with a vote of 355 for (43%) and 477 against (57%). The Rule had been before the body since they began ordering their work on Tuesday, May 10. 
        READ MORE 
        Read the UMNS story "GC2016 delegates say no to Rule 44" 

        General Conference Visible Around Portland
        Advertising messages from The United Methodist Church, "United we help millions. What's Next?" are on trains, billboards and banners around Portland. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

        Bishop Ough Installed as President of the Council of Bishops
        In a May 12 ceremony, before episcopal leaders from around the globe, Dakotas-Minnesota Area Bishop Bruce R. Ough was formally installed as president of the Council of Bishops. Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr., outgoing president of the Council of Bishops, “passed the gavel” to Ough.
        READ MORE 

        Florida Bishop Ken Carter Undergoes Surgery in Portland
        Bishop Kenneth Carter was set to undergo surgery for a severed tendon on the afternoon of May 12 at Portland's Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. The Florida Conference episcopal leader fell in the plenary hall of General Conference May 10, injuring his left knee badly enough that he required a wheelchair. He was still in acute pain after a cold pack was administered; further evaluation revealed that the injury was severe enough to require surgery.
        READ MORE


         

        GENERAL CONFERENCE 2016 UPDATE:/DAY 2

        Palmer: Trust God’s Promise and Go Forth
        (UMNS) Bishop Gregory V. Palmer laid out a path for the 2016 United Methodist General Conference: humility, humility, humility. 

        “Everyone here is a child of God. Any behavior to the contrary of that truth undermines the gospel and is a choice to live beneath our privilege,” Palmer, who serves the West Ohio Episcopal Area, said in the episcopal address on May 11. The Council of Bishops chose Palmer to deliver this speech, which he said was an opportunity to try to set the tone for the gathering. (Photo: United Methodist News Service)
        READ MORE 


        Rule 44 With Committee Until Thursday
        In ordering their work on Tuesday, May 10, the 2016 General Conference delegates adopted all but one rule recommended by the commission that plans The United Methodist Church’s legislative gathering. This rule, known as Rule 44, has been put forth by the commission as a Group Discernment Process that might provide a template for dealing with contentious issues in the life of the church. After discussion this morning, it must go back to the rules committee for a recommendation tomorrow. More discussion about Rule 44 will begin at approximately 8:30 am (11:30 EST).
        READ MORE 
        Read UMNS story "At GC2016, Rule 44 Still a Question Mark"


        Legislative Process Begins
        Delegates met for the first time with their assigned legislative committees on Wednesday afternoon. The bulk of General Conference happens in legislative committees, which receive petitions and proposals, debate them, and determine whether to approve, amend, combine or disapprove them for recommendation to the full body of General Conference. Approximately 1,000 pieces of legislation are before the 2016 assembly, down slightly from the 2012 conference. North Georgia has one or more delegates on each of the 12 committees. 
        Read more about the Legislative Process


        General Conference 2016 Update: North Georgia Edition/Day 1

        General Conference Debates Rules of Organization
        The afternoon organization of General Conference session ran into the evening as delegates debated and discussed details of rules and procedures by which the work of the conference is to be conducted. A number of North Georgia delegation members participated in the discussion. After an unexpected dinner break, delegates returned to seek more clarification of the rules on which they were voting. After much discussion, Rules 1-43 were approved. Rule 44, a highly debated option, was deferred until Wednesday.