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Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters

Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters
 

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Maputo, Mozambique: Meeting in Maputo, Mozambique this week, the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters (StC-CCM) approved a plan to present a proposed draft of portions of a Global (General) Book of Discipline at the 2016 General Conference, as well as a proposed mandate outlining a process for how to proceed in its consideration leading up to the 2020 General Conference.

During the present quadrennium, the StC-CCM has concentrated its work on the parts of the current Book of Discipline most directly related to organizing ongoing ministry in central conferences: Part VI, Organization and Administration, chapters 1 (Local Church), 2 (The Ministry of the Ordained), 3 (Superintendency), 4 (Conferences), and 6 (Church Property).

The draft would contain provisions of church law that apply to the entire global church and that only the General Conference could revise or modify. A proposed draft of Part VI, chapters 5 (Administrative Order) and 7 (Judicial Administration), needs to be developed. It is expected that they will be ready for the 2020 General Conference.

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The Standing Committee said in a statement, “The United Methodist focus on the missional commitment of the Church to make Disciples for Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World is not only aspirational, it is a vision into which we are living. Today we find ourselves as a church serving on many continents, countries, speaking different languages and shaped by different cultures. We have moved through God’s mission into connections in many places of the world on four continents with millions of new members who are steeped in the Wesleyan tradition. A Global (General) Book of Discipline will help us move forward on this journey as a worldwide church.”

In 2012, the General Conference charged the StC-CCM, in consultation with the Committee on Faith and Order, with bringing recommendations to the 2016 General Conference as to which parts and paragraphs in part VI of the Book of Discipline are not subject to change or adaptation by central conferences. Other portions of Part VI would continue to be adaptable by central conferences according to the context, missional need and legal setting.

Paragraph 101 of the Book of Discipline states in part: "The Book of Discipline reflects our Wesleyan way of serving Christ through doctrine and disciplined Christian life. We are a worldwide denomination united by doctrine, discipline, and mission through our connectional covenant. The Book of Discipline expresses that unity. Each central conference may make changes and adaptations to the Book of Discipline to more fruitfully accomplish our mission in various contexts. However, some portions of the Book of Discipline are not subject to adaptation … The Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters has primary responsibility for proposing to General Conference revisions to this paragraph."

The draft will not become disciplinary legislation at the 2016 General Conference, but if approved in its general character and outline, the committee would then request feedback on chapters 1-4 and 6 from annual conferences, while finalizing work on chapters 5 and 7. The Standing Committee will propose that the General Conference set aside adequate time during the first three days of the 2020 session for plenary consideration and disciplinary action. If delegates approve, a new Global (General) Book of Discipline could potentially be implemented by the 2020 General Conference.

 

 

For Further Information: Bishop Patrick Streiff, chairperson -
bishop@umc-europe.org