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General Conference
Commission sets dates for postponed General Conference

Commission sets dates for postponed General Conference

5/26/2020
The Commission on the General Conference has announced new 2021 dates for General Conference following the postponement of the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The quadrennial legislative event will take place on August 29 - September 7, 2021, at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minn.  "We're grateful that we were able to secure new dates while keeping the site of General Conference in Minneapolis. Nearly seven years of pre-planning and preparations by the host team have gone...

General Conference will be postponed to 2021

General Conference will be postponed to 2021

3/23/2020
Subsequent to the announcement by the Executive Committee of the Commission on the General Conference that the 2020 General Conference will be postponed, the full Commission met March 21, 2020 to determine next steps to take in setting a new date. After hearing recommendations from Sara Hotchkiss, Business Manager of the General Conference, and discussion of possible alternatives, the Commission made a determination that the General Conference will not meet in 2020 as originally planned and ...

United Methodist 2020 General Conference to be postponed

United Methodist 2020 General Conference to be postponed

3/18/2020
Nashville, Tenn.: The Executive Committee of the Commission on the General Conference has been notified by the Minneapolis Convention Center that they are restricting events at the venue through May 10, 2020, following recommendations by the Minnesota Department of Health, the Governor of Minnesota and the Mayor of Minneapolis to postpone or cancel events involving 50+ people in order to slow the spread of coronavirus. As a result of this decision, the Executive Committee is announcing that the ...

Commission on the General Conference to meet March 21

Commission on the General Conference to meet March 21

3/16/2020
Nashville, Tenn.: As concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic continue to escalate, the Commission on the General Conference will meet on March 21 via teleconference to discuss plans for the 2020 General Conference, scheduled for May 5-15, 2020. in Minneapolis, Minn.  According to the United Methodist Book of Discipline, in the absence of a convened General Conference, only the full Commission, as the duly authorized committee of the General Conference, can set the date of the ...

Bishops request to postpone 2020 General Conference

Bishops request to postpone 2020 General Conference

3/13/2020
The following is a letter to the leaders of the General Conference from the leaders of the Council of Bishops: March 13, 2020 Kim Simpson, Chairperson of Commission on the General Conference Rev. Gary W. Graves, Secretary of the General Conference Sara Hotchkiss, Business Manager of the General Conference Dear Members of the Commission on the General Conference, Grace and Peace in the Name of our Lord, Savior and Healer, Jesus Christ. We write as the Executive Committee of the Council of ...

Bishops request declaratory decision from Judicial Council on protocol legislation

Bishops request declaratory decision from Judicial Council on protocol legislation

3/11/2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church has asked the denomination’s highest court, the Judicial Council, to decide whether the legislation implementing The Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation is constitutional. A diverse group of representatives from United Methodist advocacy groups and several bishops from around the world collaborated on the agreement for the separation of The United Methodist Church. The agreement, the Protocol of ...

Maidstone Mulenga


Great Plains delegation votes to endorse protocol

Great Plains delegation votes to endorse protocol

3/11/2020
In their meeting on Feb. 28, the Great Plains Conference delegation approved these actions: The Great Plains Delegation formally endorses the items presented by Wespath to safeguard pensions during this turbulent time. The Great Plains Delegation formally endorses the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation.  Further, we discourage all amendments to the Protocol legislation that do not originate from or are not unanimously supported by the original 16 signers.  The Great ...

David Burke


Proposed new General Book of Discipline review documents available

Proposed new General Book of Discipline review documents available

2/26/2020
Nashville, Tenn.:  The United Methodist Church’s Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters has launched Generalbod.org — an online resource that makes it easy to review tracked changes to the proposed new General Book of Discipline as a means of offering transparency, and informing and stimulating conversation within the church. Members can now choose to view the content as the proposed final document version or a version with edit notations. The latter highlights revised text and the ...

South Central bishops urge delegates to consider protocol for separation

South Central bishops urge delegates to consider protocol for separation

2/26/2020
Delegates from the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church met on Feb. 20-22 to interview candidates for bishop and discuss matters relating to the 2020 General Conference, a meeting of the denomination’s top law-making body, taking place May 5-15 in Minneapolis. A major part of the weekend was hearing about the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation. Rather than explain recently released legislation for the protocol, representatives of the jurisdiction’s ...

Think tank to look at GC2020 possibilities

Think tank to look at GC2020 possibilities

2/19/2020
General Conference organizers have established a think tank to explore different ways for processing legislation at this year’s gathering of The United Methodist Church’s top lawmaking body. The assembly, scheduled May 5-15 in Minneapolis, could make decisions about how to split and restructure the international denomination of nearly 13 million members. “This is not a General Conference as usual,” said Kim Simpson, chair of the Commission on the General Conference and a lay member in the ...

United Methodist News Service


Tennessee layman offers Plain Grace Plan

Tennessee layman offers Plain Grace Plan

2/17/2020
As The United Methodist Church moves toward its 2020 General Conference, many plans for structuring the denomination have been and are being submitted for consideration. 2020 General Conference takes place May 5-15 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with 862 delegates from around the world. General Conference is the denomination’s top legislative body that makes decisions on submitted legislation. Actions of one General Conference do not bind the next General Conference, meaning every General ...

Western Jurisdiction delegates name GC2020 legislative goals

Western Jurisdiction delegates name GC2020 legislative goals

2/17/2020
We, the First Elected Delegates to General Conference 2020 from the Annual Conferences making up the Western Jurisdiction, appreciate the earnest collaborative work on the Protocol of Grace and Reconciliation through Separation. We are hopeful that it is a connectional path to fulfilling God’s call to mission and ministry. Although we are disappointed with the proposed need to pay for those who wish to leave the denomination, we understand the need for compromise. We believe the Protocol will ...

Bishop offers thoughts on Protocol for UMC's future

Bishop offers thoughts on Protocol for UMC's future

1/12/2020
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. has issued the following statement regarding the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation document. Download a PDF of the letter to the Great Plains Conference. Brothers and sisters of the Great Plains Conference,                                                   May the peace and light of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ enfold and hold you today.   By now you have read or heard that a Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation (The Protocol)...

Pastor pleased with protocol announcement, but says work is still to come

Pastor pleased with protocol announcement, but says work is still to come

1/6/2020
A Great Plains Conference pastor who was among those consulted in the first steps of the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation said he’s pleased with the outcome of the document released Jan. 3, but there is still work ahead. “I think it’s a huge step forward. It’s an acknowledgement that we’re stuck,” said the Rev. Dr. Mark Holland, a Kansas City pastor and founder of Mainstream UMC, which began in August 2018 to represent centrists and progressives in The United Methodist ...

David Burke


Reps from across human sexuality spectrum sign agreement for amicable separation

Reps from across human sexuality spectrum sign agreement for amicable separation

1/3/2020
A diverse group of representatives from United Methodist advocacy groups with contrasting views and bishops from around the world has collaborated on a proposed agreement for the separation of The United Methodist Church (UMC) that has the unanimous support of all the parties involved.  The agreement, the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation, was achieved Dec. 17 and announced today, Jan. 3, 2020. The action comes amid heightened tensions in the church over conflicting views ...

Maidstone Mulenga


Bishop issues pastoral letter following council meeting

Bishop issues pastoral letter following council meeting

11/13/2019
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. has issued the following letter to clergy and laity in the Great Plains Conference following the recent meeting of the Council of Bishops. Download a printable copy of the letter. Members of the Great Plains Conference,                                                                                            Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, the One we all belong to and whose will it is for us as His people to give thanks to God in all circumstances (1 ...

Judicial Council upholds exit plan, conference will follow procedures

Judicial Council upholds exit plan, conference will follow procedures

11/2/2019
Bishop Kenneth H. Carter speaks during an oral hearing before the United Methodist Judicial Council meeting in Evanston, Ill. Carter is president of the denomination's Council of Bishops. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.   Rulings from the United Methodist Church Judicial Council on special provisions allowing congregations to leave the denomination changes little, if anything, for churches within the Great Plains Conference. Scott Brewer, conference Treasurer and director ...

United Methodist News Service


Connecting Council addresses community building, General Conference and more

Connecting Council addresses community building, General Conference and more

10/23/2019
The Great Plains Conference’s Connecting Council considered what it means to be a “great church,” discussed budget reductions amid the denomination’s tumultuous times, the possibility of a special-called annual conference session in 2020, a plan for disaffiliation of churches, and recommended a social-justice initiative during the council’s busy two-day meeting Oct. 19-20 in Topeka. “We’re being real intentional about building community because that’s what is going to keep us together going ...

Todd Seifert


After special session, Church of the Resurrection changes its Leadership Institute plans

After special session, Church of the Resurrection changes its Leadership Institute plans

10/1/2019
Just like it had done for the previous 20 years, United Methodist Church of the Resurrection began planning its annual Leadership Institute a week after the close of the 2018 gathering.  “It is a year-round process,” said Kari Burgess, program director of ShareChurch. “We start combing through (participant surveys) right away and get ideas of how we might change and better Leadership Institute for the next year.”  Nearly 2,500 people from all 54 annual conferences attended the 2019 ...

David Burke


African bishops say United Methodist Church will continue, even after 2020 General Conference

African bishops say United Methodist Church will continue, even after 2020 General Conference

9/6/2019
MUTARE, ZIMBABWE -- Bishops in Africa have vowed that The United Methodist Church will continue in Africa even after the 2020 General Conference. Therefore, the bishops have resolved not to support any proposed legislation or plans that call for dividing or dissolving The United Methodist Church. “We do not support any legislation that calls for the dissolution of The United Methodist Church. We uphold our values as a connectional and worldwide church committed to ‘Making disciples of Jesus ...

Maidstone Mulenga


Group drafts separation plan for denomination

Group drafts separation plan for denomination

8/13/2019
The United Methodist Church’s conflict over homosexuality is irreconcilable and calls for amicable separation into different denominations, according to a 12-person group of centrists, traditionalists and progressives that began meeting in late June. “We’ve discovered The United Methodist Church can’t live in the same house together peaceably, but we can live next door to one another,” said the Rev. Kent Millard, president of United Theological Seminary and one of the group’s organizers. Millard...

United Methodist News Service


Improper voting at GC2019 voids disaffiliation legislation

Improper voting at GC2019 voids disaffiliation legislation

8/12/2019
Bishops Thomas J. Bickerton (center) and Gregory V. Palmer (right) confer with colleagues on legislative procedures during the 2019 United Methodist General Conference in St. Louis. Bickerton is the Council of Bishops representative on the Commission on General Conference. The Commission on General Conference — meeting behind closed doors — reviewed an investigation that found evidence of four ineligible people casting votes using the credentials of delegates who were not present. File photo ...

United Methodist News Service


Mission shares collections down after special session

Mission shares collections down after special session

7/24/2019
Bishop Michael McKee, president of the General Council on Finance and Administration, confers with Moses Kumar, GCFA’s top executive, on July 19 in Dallas. GCFA’s board heard that giving across the church is down since the 2019 General Conference in February. Photo by Sam Hodges, UM News Service   The United Methodist Church continues to face a financial hangover from the 2019 General Conference in St. Louis, where passage of the Traditional Plan led unhappy churches and individuals to a ...

United Methodist News Service


Conference talks about serving others, reacts to General Conference outcomes

Conference talks about serving others, reacts to General Conference outcomes

6/5/2019
With a theme of “Therefore Go: Serve Others” for the 2019 Great Plains Annual Conference, messages throughout the event, May 29-June 1 at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, focused on fresh starts — from setting priorities for ministry to starting off in ministry for newly ordained clergy to coping with unrest in The United Methodist Church amid the ongoing debate over human sexuality. Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. set the tone with his episcopal address by acknowledging the church’s struggles. “...

Todd Seifert


Council of Bishops responds to Judicial Council ruling on special session

Council of Bishops responds to Judicial Council ruling on special session

4/26/2019
The Council of Bishops expresses its deep gratitude to the Judicial Council for its careful review of the actions of the 2019 General Conference. The Judicial Council’s decisions are clear and sound, and they give helpful guidance to the Church.  In Decision 1378, the Judicial Council ruled that the constitutional parts of the Traditional Plan enacted by the General Conference were severable from those parts that it ruled were unconstitutional. The parts of the Traditional Plan that were ...

United Methodist News Service


37 clergy, 44 laity offer selves for election as General, Jurisdictional conference delegates

37 clergy, 44 laity offer selves for election as General, Jurisdictional conference delegates

4/24/2019
Profiles from people who have offered themselves for election as delegates to the 2020 General Conference and Jurisdictional Conference are available to be downloaded from a page on the Great Plains Conference website. The profiles are broken out for clergy and laity, and each can be viewed either individually or can be downloaded as a single document to make printing easier. Each profile contains demographic information for the person and includes their answers to questions pertinent to the ...

Credentialing review to go before Commission on General Conference

Credentialing review to go before Commission on General Conference

3/14/2019
The Executive Committee of the Commission on the General Conference is looking into a question that ineligible persons may have received credentials to vote during the Special Session of the General Conference. The Secretary of the General Conference, the Rev. Gary W. Graves, recently became aware of the concerns after receiving an inquiry about the registration and credentialing process. Following consultation with the chair of the Commission on the General Conference, an in-depth review was ...

Special Session of General Conference coverage

Special Session of General Conference coverage

2/26/2019
The special session of General Conference has concluded in St. Louis. Our coverage will continue in coming days as rulings are made by the Judicial Council related to the Traditional Plan.  Stories and videos from the conference appear below.   Feb. 26 — Plenary Session Delegates spent the day Tuesday considering a minority report in favor of the One Church Plan and amendments associated to the Traditional Plan, Wespath petitions and other legislation.. Video Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. encourages ...

Youngest delegate urges unity among General Conference

Youngest delegate urges unity among General Conference

2/26/2019
Young adult delegates embrace Shayla Jordan, a Great Plains lay delegate, after she delivered a speech against the Traditional Plan during day four of the United Methodist General Conference in St. Louis. Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS. With dozens of her contemporaries around her and the support of more than 15,500 of her generation from around the world, the youngest delegate to the special session of the General Conference gave a plea for unity Tuesday morning. “Today we ask you to vote...

David Burke


Resurrection staffer on center stage with special session praise band

Resurrection staffer on center stage with special session praise band

2/25/2019
When planning for the special session of the General Conference began, the Rev. Ashley Morgan Kirk didn’t think she would be on stage in St. Louis. Kirk was local host and worship liaison, just as she had been for the past three years in the Missouri Annual Conference sessions. Rev. Ashley Morgan Kirk (center) joined an established praise team from Brooklyn for worship in the special session of General Conference. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News Service But after conversations with Raymond ...

David Burke


Wesley KU students intently watching special session

Wesley KU students intently watching special session

2/25/2019
A junior at the University of Kansas, Grace Woods is preparing to go to the seminary to become a pastor. Nicole Guthrie, a member of Great Plains Conference staff in the Clergy Excellence department, poses with visitors to General Conference from the KU Wesley campus ministry at the University of Kansas. Photo courtesy Nicole Guthrie “The United Methodist Church is really important to me,” the Tonganoxie native said. “It’s part of my identity, and it’s who I am.” But if the Traditional ...

David Burke


Great Plains clergy, laity make their way to General Conference in St. Louis

Great Plains clergy, laity make their way to General Conference in St. Louis

2/24/2019
Members of the Great Plains Conference interact with people around them during the special session of General Conference on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019. Dozens of people from Kansas and Nebraska have traveled to St. Louis for the special session. Photo by Jayna McFarland Some of those who trekked from the Great Plains Conference to St. Louis are there to support clergy and laity. Others want to be in the room where and when history might happen for United Methodists. Dozens ...

David Burke


Delegates welcome opening special session with prayer, praise

Delegates welcome opening special session with prayer, praise

2/23/2019
  Starting the special session of General Conference on Saturday with a day of praise and worship was just what the Rev. Cheryl Jefferson Bell needed. “It was preparing us spiritually to focus on God, and why we’re here – not to look at the issues immediately, but to get our spirits connected with God,” said Bell, associate pastor of Church of the Resurrection in Leawood and a Great Plains clergy delegate to General Conference. The delegates were led in worship for about six hours, with ...

David Burke


Bishop applauds day of prayer to open special session

Bishop applauds day of prayer to open special session

2/18/2019
The special session of the General Conference, Feb. 23-26 in St. Louis, will begin with an entire day of praise and worship.  “This will be a wonderful act, signifying and recognizing our dependence on God to lead us forward as a United Methodist Church,” said a statement from the Praying Our Way Forward Team of the Council of Bishops.  Great Plains Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. said he appreciates and applauds the intentional time of prayer.  Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr., left, and the Rev. Dee ...

David Burke


Churches continue Way Forward discussion in advance of special session

Churches continue Way Forward discussion in advance of special session

12/11/2018
The 98 days between Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.’s final town hall meeting and the opening of the special session of the General Conference focusing on human sexuality are becoming a time of study, debate and reflection for members of the Great Plains Conference.  More than 4,100 people attended the 18 town hall meetings, which took place from Aug. 25 to Nov. 17. In each meeting, Bishop Saenz shared details of the structure of the denomination and a history of its stance on LGBTQ issues, as well as ...

David Burke


Salina town hall draws record 375 people to discuss special session

Salina town hall draws record 375 people to discuss special session

10/16/2018
Despite unseasonable weather that caused some attendees to return home while en route, 375 people packed into Salina Trinity United Methodist Church on Oct. 14 to hear information about proposals that will come before a special session of the General Conference in February. The crowd was not only the largest of the 13 town hall meetings with Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. so far, it may also have been the most vocal. Statements supporting the church’s traditional stand received applause, even though ...

David Burke


Petition process decided for special session

Petition process decided for special session

8/27/2018
The Commission on the General Conference has outlined a process for determining if petitions submitted to the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference are in harmony with the Council of Bishops’ amended call to the session, which states that the purpose of the special session “shall be limited to receiving and acting upon a report from the Commission on a Way Forward based upon the recommendations of the Council of Bishops.” The Judicial Council ruled that petitions may be filed by an ...

General Conference delegates discuss A Way Forward

General Conference delegates discuss A Way Forward

7/17/2018
When General Conference delegates get together, they often spend their time discussing votes and lobbying fellow delegates to vote as they do. Lonnie Chafin, a lay delegate from the Northern Illinois Conference, wanted a different approach ahead of next year’s special session of The United Methodist Church’s top legislative assembly. The 2019 special General Conference seeks to resolve the denomination’s longtime debate over ministry with LGBTQ individuals — a dispute that threatens to splinter ...

Bishops seek declaratory decisions on three plans submitted to General Conference

Bishops seek declaratory decisions on three plans submitted to General Conference

7/12/2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is asking the Judicial Council for declaratory decisions on the constitutionality of the petitions submitted by the Commission on a Way Forward to the 2019 Special Session of General Conference. In an electronic vote on July 7, 2018, the bishops agreed to seek a ruling from the highest court in the denomination on whether proposed legislations known as the One Church Plan, the Connectional Conference Plan, and the ...

Bishops call 2019 special session of General Conference

Bishops call 2019 special session of General Conference

4/25/2017
The Council of Bishops (COB) has called a special session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC) to be conducted Feb. 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri. In announcing the call, COB President Bishop Bruce R. Ough said the special session will be conducted in accordance with Division Two - Section II - Article II of The Constitution of The United Methodist Church as recorded in Paragraph ¶14 of The Book of Discipline (2016). The purpose of the 2019 special session of the...

Council of Bishops to call for 2019 General Conference

Council of Bishops to call for 2019 General Conference

11/2/2016
Sets forth actions to involve the whole church in prayer and conversation Through an affirmative vote at their fall  meeting this week, the United Methodist Council of Bishops expressed their intent to call for a special session of the General Conference in either February or March of 2019 and asked the business manager of the General Conference to move forward with exploring venues and a bid search. The Constitution of The United Methodist Church provides that the Council of Bishops may call ...

Bishop Jones issues statement about General Conference, Rev. Cynthia Meyer case

Bishop Jones issues statement about General Conference, Rev. Cynthia Meyer case

5/24/2016
Bishop Scott J. Jones of the Great Plains Conference issued the following letter today to pastors across Kansas and Nebraska as well as to lay members to annual conference.  The letter is printed here in its entirety. Or download the letter.

Council of Bishops follows tradition with letter to the church

Council of Bishops follows tradition with letter to the church

5/24/2016
Reviving a tradition that is more than a century old, the United Methodist Council of Bishops sent this letter Monday to the people of The United Methodist Church following the 2016 General Conference, conducted May 10-20 in Portland, Oregon. The letter reads as follows: Great Plains Bishop Scott Jones sings a hymn with other bishops after they entered the hall to start the 2016 General Conference opening worship time in Portland,  Oregon. Photo by Todd Seifert   To the people of The ...

GC2016 wrap-up: Farewell, Portland. Thanks for the doughnuts.

GC2016 wrap-up: Farewell, Portland. Thanks for the doughnuts.

5/21/2016
Believe it or not, General Conference 2016 spent more than twice as much time debating a Rule of Order than the hot topic of human sexuality. After almost three days of considering an alternative method for discussing legislation, The United Methodist Church’s top legislative body referred its most difficult subject — sexuality — to a study commission and moved on to other matters. Delegates pause for a moment of prayer following the morning discussion and expressions of confusion in the May ...

May 20 wrap-up: Budget passes, with increase

May 20 wrap-up: Budget passes, with increase

5/20/2016
As delegates prepared for the last day of General Conference 2016, the words of the immortal sage Jerry Reed may have run through their minds: We’ve got a long way to go, and a short time to get there. Voting clocks shrank from 30 seconds to 10 and more than one presiding bishop urged delegates to speak less and vote more. Delegates rolled up their sleeves and plunged into a daunting collection of remaining petitions before the closing gavel fell.  Budget passes with slight increase General ...

May 19 wrap-up: Conference takes up key legislation on penultimate day

May 19 wrap-up: Conference takes up key legislation on penultimate day

5/19/2016
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? The Cherokee Choir from the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference sings during morning worship at the 2016 ...

Female pastors celebrate; say struggles continue

Female pastors celebrate; say struggles continue

5/19/2016
UMC Women in Clergy from Great Plains UMC on Vimeo. As the 60th anniversary of women receiving full clergy rites in The United Methodist Church was celebrated Thursday during the General Conference, female clergy delegates in the Great Plains Conference say there is still a long way to go to achieve full equality with their male counterparts. “It’s exciting to think about the perspectives that women bring into the ministry, the voice they bring into the ministry,” said the Rev. Rebecca ...

Translators share the power of words

Translators share the power of words

5/19/2016
English-speaking delegates had the opportunity to experience what hundreds of non-English-speaking colleagues go through regularly when Bishop Patrick Streiff of the Central and Southern Europe Central Conference presided over the afternoon plenary session in French on May 17 in French. Though not his native language, he chose to do so because French is one of the languages translated during General Conference. The Rev. Dr. Anne Gatobu translates a worship service from English to Swahili during...

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

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

5/18/2016
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 to General Conference 2016 spent most of the day deciding whether to move forward on dozens of petitions regarding the denomination’s stance on human sexuality, or whether to refer that difficult subject to a special commission to be appointed by the Council of Bishops. They referred. Now the newly created body will ...

Motion to accept bishops' plan resurrected, passes

Motion to accept bishops' plan resurrected, passes

5/18/2016
Adam Hamilton reacts to human sexuality motion introduced to deal with LGBT issues in UMC General Conference 2016. from Great Plains UMC on Vimeo. After hours of deliberation, two failed motions and an accusation from the floor of a bishop directing people which way to vote, the General Conference voted to accept and enact a plan for unity presented by the Council of Bishops. The motion to accept the bishops’ proposal eventually passed 425-408. It proclaims the intent of the bishops to ...

Bishop Ough shares Council of Bishops proposal for unity

Bishop Ough shares Council of Bishops proposal for unity

5/18/2016
The following is a statement read during the morning plenary session May 18 in Portland, Oregon: 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 Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 ...

Church hopes to build on Imagine No Malaria program success

Church hopes to build on Imagine No Malaria program success

5/18/2016
NO MALARIA-EMILY BALLARD from Great Plains UMC on Vimeo. Seeking to build on the success of its global health initiative “Imagine No Malaria,” The United Methodist Church this week affirmed its commitment to positively impact the lives of children everywhere through the next phase of its global health work. Coordinated by the denomination’s General Board of Global Ministries, “Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children” aims to reach 1 million children with lifesaving interventions by 2020. ...

May 17 wrap-up: Schism rumors quashed

May 17 wrap-up: Schism rumors quashed

5/17/2016
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 said the bishops are committed to church unity. Opening worship In his May 17 sermon on Matthew 18:10-14, Bishop Ivan M. Abrahams, top executive of...

Great Plains delegates help take lead on debate

Great Plains delegates help take lead on debate

5/17/2016
Mark Holland on Bishops leadership from Great Plains UMC on Vimeo. Members of the Great Plains Conference delegation played a major role in encouraging bishops to take on a larger leadership role in the debate on LGBTQ issues that have so far stymied the 2016 General Conference. A motion made by the Rev. Mark Holland, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church and a clergy delegate from Kansas City, Kansas, urged the Council of Bishops on Tuesday to make an unbinding recommendation to the ...

May 16 wrap-up: Week two begins with elections, celebrations, protests

May 16 wrap-up: Week two begins with elections, celebrations, protests

5/16/2016
Before tackling the pile of petitions before them, delegates to General Conference 2016 voted to fill vacancies in key positions on the Judicial Council, the University Senate and the Commission on General Conference. And then, voting officially began. Opening worship “God is the host for our “banquet,” be it General Conference or God’s “kingdom on earth,” Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey said in her sermon on May 16 at General Conference, the denomination’s top legislative body. The Louisiana ...

Church sets goals for next four years

Church sets goals for next four years

5/16/2016
The United Methodist Church has set bold goals to increase the number of disciples, address poverty, improve Bishop Grant Hagiya of the Pacific Northwest Episcopal Area talks during a press conference May 16 about four goals set for The United Methodist Church. Photo by Todd Seifert the health of children and improve leadership by the time of the next General Conference in 2020. Bishop Grant Hagiya of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area led a presentation that laid out the goals for the ...

UMW celebrates 150 years of advocacy

UMW celebrates 150 years of advocacy

5/16/2016
The United Methodist Women took a moment to celebrate its past during the General Conference on Monday afternoon, while brimming with excitement about the group’s future. A seven-minute presentation featured the history of the UMW, which began 150 years ago as an outreach to women and children in India.   Members of The United Methodist Women celebrated the 150th anniversary for the  organization during a special presentation at General Conference on May 16. Photo by Todd Seifert The UMW ...

General Conference - May 14 recap

General Conference - May 14 recap

5/15/2016
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 identifying themselves as “ambassadors sharing young people’s ...

Dotson wearing many hats at General Conference

Dotson wearing many hats at General Conference

5/14/2016
Forgive the Rev. Junius Dotson if he needs a few moments to collect his thoughts during a discussion – particularly during the hustle and bustle of General Conference. The Rev. Junius Dotson of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas, takes part in a legislative committee meeting May 14 during General Conference in Portland,  Oregon. Dotson will become general secretary of Discipleship Ministries in July.  Photo by Rachel Moser It’s not because he’s slow to ponder a response. ...

May 13 wrap-up: Laity address, State of the Church Report

May 13 wrap-up: Laity address, State of the Church Report

5/13/2016
After several days where General Conference delegates were clearly divided over Robert’s Rules vs. Group Discernment and placards vs. iPads, on Day Four, they were urged repeatedly to work together, and shown examples of the good the church can do when it heeds that advice. Laity address Morning worship by delegates Ande Emmanuel, Eunice Iliya, Joyce Madanga and Habila Bala, delegates from Southern Nigeria Conference, react to the morning worship music at the 2016 United Methodist General ...

Laity challenged to get more involved in ministry

Laity challenged to get more involved in ministry

5/13/2016
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 Rev. Stephanie Ahlschwede leads a time of prayer May 13 for Courtney Fowler with some of the  Great Plains Conference delegation and staff prior to Fowler taking part in the laity address from the floor of the General Conference in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Rachel Moser The May 13 ...

Dakotas-Minnesota bishop is new president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church

Dakotas-Minnesota bishop is new president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church

5/12/2016
Bishop Bruce Ough, bishop of the Dakotas-Minnesota Area of The United Methodist Church, today became president of the Council of Bishops of the 12.3 million member global United Methodist Church. Bishop Bruce R. Ough (left) receives the gavel as incoming president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops from outgoing president Warner H. Brown, Jr. during the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS Bishop Ough assumed the presidency of the Council from ...

General Conference May 12 recap

General Conference May 12 recap

5/12/2016
After a roller coaster of “will-they-or-won’t-they” episodes usually reserved for love interests in a romantic comedy, delegates finally decided their relationship with Rule 44: They won’t. The final tally on the much-debated Rule 44 — a proposed Group Discernment Process — was 355 yes and 477 no. However, even getting to a simple up-or-down vote took the delegates most of their morning.?Over the past three days, the United Methodist General Conference also has offered a live demonstration of ...

Great Plains pastor tells poignant story while speaking for Rule 44

Great Plains pastor tells poignant story while speaking for Rule 44

5/12/2016
The Rev. Mark R. Holland of Trinity Community Church in Kansas City, Kansas, supported the use of what has become known as “Rule 44” during General Conference of The United Methodist Church because, he said, he has seen how small-group discussions can help foster understanding. The Rev. Mark Holland (left) shows a photo of his daughter, Esther, to Honorine Mwad  Mujing, who raised his daughter from 2 days old until adoption, and the Rev. Mande Muyobo, who led the mission trip to Congo during ...

May 11 wrap-up: Episcopal address, more Rule 44 debate

May 11 wrap-up: Episcopal address, more Rule 44 debate

5/11/2016
A day after the celebratory tone of opening worship came a reminder that General Conference is one big, long meeting. As delegates got down to business, debate over one of the Rules of Order will stretch into a third day while the episcopal address urged United Methodists to “trust God and go.” In the episcopal address on May 11, Bishop Gregory V. Palmer laid out a path for the 2016 United Methodist General Conference: humility, humility, humility. Members of Signatur, a choir from Norway, ...

'Rule 44' decision postponed again

'Rule 44' decision postponed again

5/11/2016
Just one day after postponing a contentious rules change for The United Methodist Church's General Conference, the matter was delayed yet again so amendments could be considered by the Rules Committee. Debate on Rule 44, which would move proposals related to human sexuality into discussion groups comprised of small groups in hopes of building consensus, initially was tabled by a mere eight votes. A motion by a delegate from Europe led to a second vote, which this time had Rule 44 pulled back ...

Episcopal address challenges all to go forth

Episcopal address challenges all to go forth

5/11/2016
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. Bishop Gregory V. Palmer delivers the episcopal address during the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Oregon. Photo by ...

General Conference opens with message about unity of purpose

General Conference opens with message about unity of purpose

5/10/2016
The 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church opened Tuesday afternoon, May 10, with a message from Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr. for unity during what could be heated debates over contentious issues such as human sexuality. Bishop Scott Jones (center) helps serve communion during opening worship from the General Conference of The United Methodist Church on May 10 in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Todd Seifert. As part of his sermon, Brown, the outgoing president of the Council of ...

General Conference Videos - Updated May 20

General Conference Videos - Updated May 20

5/10/2016
Throughout the 2016 General Conference, check here for videos from the meetings taking place in Portland, Oregon. The Great Plains Conference communications staff will be working with delegates to provide insights into the happenings there and stories about what goes on outside the plenary sessions. May 20 General Conference 2016 has been an emotional roller coaster Frustration tempered with the world's need for The United Methodist Church Some areas of ministry have emerged from 2016 ...

Photos from General Conference

Photos from General Conference

5/10/2016
Check here each day for photos of Great Plains Conference delegates and Bishop Scott Jones as they take part in the 2016 General Conference of The United Methodist Church. See what our delegates are doing and see some of the behind-the-scenes images from the events in Portland, Oregon.

Bishop Jones shares information about General Conference

Bishop Jones shares information about General Conference

4/4/2016
Bishop Scott Jones shared information about the upcoming General Conference of The United Methodist Church during a livestream broadcast April 2 from the episcopal office in Wichita, Kansas. The broadcast featured the bishop sharing details about the purpose and structure of General Conference, the way it handles legislation and its role in the worldwide church. He then explained what he thinks will be some of the more hotly debated issues facing the 2016 General Conference, which is scheduled ...

Briefing previews 2016 General Conference topics

Briefing previews 2016 General Conference topics

1/26/2016
In a gathering that repeatedly stressed church unity despite passionately held differences, United Methodists received a preview of some issues the 2016 General Conference will debate when the denomination’s top lawmaking body meets this spring. Josephine Deere (left) and the Rev. David Wilson (right) of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference pray for the Rev. Tom Albin during the Pre-General Conference Briefing in Portland, Ore. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS The Rev. Steven Lewis, Gresham ...

Sexuality debate a key topic for General Conference

Sexuality debate a key topic for General Conference

1/25/2016
For Dorothee Benz, the debate is about “whether and how The United Methodist Church will continue to discriminate.” For the Rev. Bill Arnold, the debate is about what church unity looks like and how the denomination lives into its mission statement. “I consider institutional unity a minimum,” he said. The Rev. Dr. Bill Arnold of Asbury Theological Seminary and Dr. Dorothee Benz of Methodists in New Directions take part in a discussion about human sexuality during the pre-General Conference ...