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United Methodists gather for opening worship at the 2008 United Methodist General Conference, Fort Worth, Texas.

General Conference 2008: Learn about GC

Find articles to help you learn about how General Conference works. Read More

Papers are plentiful in legislative committee sessions at the 2008 United Methodist General Conference on April 25. The quadrennial gathering is being held in Fort Worth, Texas.

General Conference 2008: Issues

View summaries of some of the major issues delegates will deal with at the 2008 General Conference. Read More

General Conference 2012: Daily Christian Advocate

The Daily Christian Advocate (DCA) serves as the record of those who have been elected to serve as delegate, the legislation submitted, and the decisions made by the General Conference. Read More

General Conference 2012: Major Legislative Issues

This section provides a summary of the major issues to be addressed by the General Conference. Read More

GC2012: Advance Edition Daily Christian Advocate

All legislation submitted for consideration by the delegates is published and distributed before the beginning of General Conference. Read More

General Conference 2012: Legislation

Nine hundred and eighty-eight delegates from around the world set policy and direction for the church, as well as handled other business. Read More

Delegates study legislation at the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Fla.

General Conference 2012: Legislation

Nine hundred and eighty-eight delegates from around the world set policy and direction for the church, as well as handled other business. Read More

Violetka Zheceva and Samuel Altunian of Bulgaria examine the Daily Christian Advocate during the April 23 organizational session of the 2008 United Methodist General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

General Conference 2008: The Legislative Process

Everything you need to know about General Conference legislation — from how it is submitted to how it is processed by delegates. Read More

Delegates to the United Methodist Church's 2004 General Conference consider legislation from  their seats in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.

General Conference 2008: Business

Resources for those participating, covering or visiting GC2008. Read More

General Conference 2016

The United Methodist Church’s top legislative body will meet at the Oregon Convention Center, the largest convention center in the Pacific Northwest, on May 10-20, 2016. Read More

United Methodist HBCUs prepare for health care changes

The United Methodist Black College Fund Council of Presidents met with their institutions' chief financial officers and human resources directors to discuss what the Affordable Care Act will mean for their universities. Read More

Agency: Health law needs fix for churches

Without the Church Health Plan Act, the future of church-sponsored health plans is in danger, says the United Methodist pension board. Read More

What does Obamacare mean for churches?

The answer will depend on how U.S. conferences are able to use the insurance marketplaces after Oct. enrollment begins. Read More

Florida to end insurance for some workers

Conference decision will mean many lay employees of churches will have to look to the exchange for coverage. Read More

United Methodists monitor immigration bill

Church leaders have signed a statement outlining how the U.S. Senate bill fits - and does not fit - with United Methodist teachings. Read More

United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcao is framed by the tightly-spaced mesh of the border fence between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico, during the observance of Posada Without Borders. Today Carcao was among a group of religious leaders who spoke with President Obama about immigration reform.

President invites bishop to immigration meeting

Bishop Minerva Carcao among faith leaders invited to White House; immigration 'a moral issue we all share,' she says. Read More

United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño is framed by the tightly-spaced mesh of the border fence between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico last month. Today President Obama made a call for immigration reform to fix a “broken immigration system.”

Carcaño guest at Obama immigration speech

United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcao joined other faith leaders in affirming the President's call for immigration reform. Read More

Faith coalition backs Obama gun plan

United Methodists join faith leaders representing more than 80 million Americans in urging immediate action to respond to crisis. Read More

Swift reaction to bishop’s gay marriage stand

Chicago Area bishop's support of Illinois marriage legislation brings comments from all perspectives in the same-sex civil union debate. Read More

Same-sex unions gain support in U.S. elections

United Methodists were on both sides of the issue Nov. 6 as the vote in four states indicated support for same-sex unions. Read More

Top court has full docket this week

Among 18 items to be considered by United Methodist Judicial Council are guaranteed clergy appointments. Read More

Bishops of the United Methodist Church in Angola lay hands on a new pastor during a 2006 ordination service at the West Angola Annual Conference session at the Icolo e Bengo United Methodist Church in Luanda. The United Methodist Church in Angola played a

Court to weigh end of clergy job guarantees

Proponents say changes will help bishops make "missional appointments." Critics worry of potential for abuse. Read More

Final report: Church path ‘unsustainable’

The Interim Operations Team, in its final report, calls for bigger changes than what came out of the 2012 General Conference. Read More

Deferred Action for Certain Immigrant Youth (DACA) provides hope to thousands of undocumented young people.

Helping young adults reach American dream

A new policy allowing young people to stay in the United States has led to a flood of applications. See how United Methodists are helping. Read More

Health care law survives; what’s ahead?

After the recent Supreme Court ruling, United Methodists are still discussing what the law means for the church and U.S. society as a whole. Read More

Immigration reformers hail and hammer ruling

Immigration advocates now focus on end to 'racial profiling' in Arizona law after U.S. high court ruling in June eliminates other objections. Read More

Students face years of debt

If no agreement reached, loan rates will increase at a time when young people are graduating or leaving with thousands to repay. Read More

United Methodist congregations have led faith communities in advocating for just, humane immigration reform, including the DREAM Act.

Immigrant students get ‘moment of grace’

Obama's announcement looked at as time to prepare as churches help mobilize and educate Hispanic community to apply for legal status. Read More

GC2012: How Book of Discipline comes to be

Editor Marvin Cropsey explains the process to prepare the revisions of Discipline and Resolutions. Read More

New wrinkle in appointment security

The United Methodist connection has been abuzz about a letter calling into question whether General Conference really ended clergy job guarantees. Read More

12 lessons from 12 General Conferences

Rich Peck has seen a lot of history and worn a lot of hats in five decades attending General Conference. Read More

Bishop Janice Huie presides over a May 2 debate on denominational restructure at the 2012 United Methodist General Conference.

Week 2: GC2012 flurry of motions, ministry

Frustrated by not voting on major restructure legislation, some felt as if GC2012 accomplished nothing. That's not the case. Read More

GC2012: Judicial Council voids Plan UMC

Compromise restructure plan unanimously deemed unconstitutional; two other referrals deferred until fall. Read More

No ‘Plan UMC’, GC2012 shrinks agencies

After reorganization plan is ruled unconstitutional, delegates work to salvage parts of the structural changes. Read More

May 4 wrap: No restructure in 2012

A day filled with drama over an unexpected ruling on the church's structure plan ended anticlimactically when delegates adjourned without coming to a decision. Read More

Delegates cannot agree they disagree on sexuality

After more than an hour of debate and disagreement, two items stating Christians have different opinions about homosexuality were not approved. Read More

Restructuring plan gets tentative OK

Final nod awaits budget report from finance agency and decision of the denomination's top court on constitutionality. Read More

GC2012: Set-aside bishop proposal fails

Fulltime president for Council of Bishops falls short of required two-thirds support because measure comes under constitutional rule. Read More

Up to full GC2012 to decide restructure

No plan made it out of committee, supporters of the three major plans still working to accomplish various objectives. Read More

GC2012: How to increase accountability?

Legislation aims to increase responsibility for disciple making. United Methodists ask how bishops can be more accountable too. Read More

Bishops urged to bring peace to GC2012

Council of Bishops president says more anxiety precedes this General Conference than any in recent history. Read More

Will restructuring save money?

Yes, but the unanswered questions are how much and whether it will be enough to make a difference for local churches. Read More

Rural churches seek voice at GC2012

United Methodist Rural Fellowship provides values statement as guideline for restructuring proposals at General Conference. Read More

Cultural change seen as key to vital church

Focus is on what steps The United Methodist Church needs to take beyond restructuring to reverse U.S. decline. Read More

Restructuring proposals neglect women’s issues

'If our denomination is to be a relevant, reliable witness to the gospel, (we) must give priority to ministry &ellipsis; with and by women.' Read More

Debate grapples with restructuring

At a Texas gathering, a lay leader, a district superintendent and an agency executive discuss whether disciples will be the outcome of effort. Read More

Agency QA: Communications

Series on church agencies: "United Methodist Communications facilitates the church's participation in conversations around issues of the day." Read More

Agency QA: Status and Role of Women

Series looks at how agencies work: Leaders say they challenged the church to open doors for women. Read More

Ethnic groups add voices to inclusion calls

Caucuses lend support for full inclusion for LGBT persons: "We know what it is like to experience discrimination." Read More

Agency QA: Church and Society

Series looks at how agencies work: Through education, witness and action, agency strives to uphold United Methodist Social Principles. Read More

Agency QA: Pension and Health Benefits

Series looks at how agencies work: 'Caring for those who serve' by providing investment, benefit services that reflect United Methodist values. Read More

Agency QA: Global Ministries

Series looks at how agencies work: 'Global Ministries is a facilitator of mission - passionate for partnership and open to the visions of others.' Read More

Agency QA: United Methodist Men

Series looks at how agencies carry out mission: 'I believe if our church is to survive and grow, United Methodist Men will play a large role in that effort.' Read More

Open letter urges restructure support

Signers, including many large-church pastors, say 'Now is the time for action' in consolidating general agencies and nurturing leaders. Read More

Agency QA: Board of Discipleship

Series looks at how agencies carry out mission: Training and supporting church leaders - 'I came home energized and on fire with a new attitude.' Read More

Finance group stands by $603.1 million budget

General Conference tries to balance local church finances with mission needs as it determines how to allocate funds. Read More

Group offers ‘Plan B’ for church structure

Proponents say the alternative will offer a better balance of power and more representation than the Interim Operations Team proposal. Read More

Agency QA: Finance and Administration

'We like to say that if we have done our work correctly, no one will know that we have done it at all.' Read More

Agency QA: Higher Education and Ministry

Series looks at how agencies carry out mission: Agency gives a helping hand to all as it prepares new generation of Christian leaders. Read More

Agency QA: Publishing House

UMPH was the first church agency in the U.S. Since 1789 its mission has been "disseminating religious knowledge and useful &ellipsis; information." Read More

Sibling Arkansas delegates share hopes

'Holy conferencing is holding fast to what you believe is true while listening to other people's truths.' Read More

Will restructure give bishops more power?

Some leaders worry proposed changes will give bishops too much authority; others say changes will help them carry out the mission. Read More

Agency QA: Christian Unity

Series look at how agencies carry out mission. Commission keeps United Methodists 'ecumenically engaged and interreligiously involved.' Read More

Should bishops have a full-time president?

Church leaders debate a proposal to have a bishop who leads the council and the Call to Action without the usual residential responsibilities. Read More

Agency QA: Religion and Race

Series looks at how agencies carry out mission. "If the commission did not exist, the church would be at risk of losing its racial conscience." Read More

Long history of set-aside bishop proposals

'Issues of leadership and management have been a part of our life from the beginning,' church historian says. Read More

Restructure draws finance agency warning

GCFA board says agency consolidation could put denomination at greater liability risk, jeopardize tax-exempt status for some. Read More

Agency QA: Archives and History

Series looks at how agencies carry out mission. "Through archival records&ellipsis;balanced accountability of our actions is maintained." Read More

Connectional Table splits on petition

Proposal to redistribute $60 million sparks debate even though the proposal originated with the 60-member body. Read More

Briefing previews General Conference issues

Delegates consider issues from reorganization to roles of bishops to an operating budget that is smaller than in the previous quadrennium. Read More

Ethnic groups offer ideas for vital church

National plans for ethnic/racial ministries are growing churches and planting new ones. They should be part of any new structure, groups say. Read More

Will restructuring cut vital ministry?

That's the question church staff want General Conference delegates to consider in weighing various reorganization proposals. Read More

Supreme Court shields church from bias laws

United Methodist leaders say the decision puts the onus on the denomination to do justice in its hiring practices. Read More

Preview to church restructuring debate

Concerns raised that the proposed changes would give too much power to bishops and damage the denomination's 'separation of powers.' Read More

North Texas General Conference Delegation Endorses Call to Action

North Texas General Conference Delegation Endorses Call to Action Read More

Group proposes alternative restructure

Methodist Federation for Social Action is the only unofficial caucus to submit its own reorganization to General Conference. Read More

2 big disputes ahead at General Conference

Proposals to restructure agencies and end "guaranteed appointments" for clergy stir reactions across theological spectrum. Read More

Black leaders talk about church changes

Annual forum for church leaders dominated by discussion of impact of proposed changes on African-American congregations. Read More

Bishops called to reclaim church’s mission

Council of Bishops president urges church to be 'a community of faith active in love, alive as the body of Christ.' Read More

Ethnic caucuses voice restructure concerns

Legislation to consolidate general agencies "minimizes and will exclude" the participation of ethnic minorities, the statement says. Read More

Deportations Leave Teen Alone

When Jasmine Franco's parents had to leave the U.S., church friends gave her shelter. Now she is the first in her family to go to college. View

Can Christians embrace faith and science?

As many states consider preventing the teaching of evolution, United Methodists ask why science and the church can't coexist. Read More

Bishops to change ecumenical agency

If General Conference approves, the agency will become part of the Council of Bishops. Read More

Ecumenical commission considers its future

The general agency has proposed drastically shrinking its board or folding its work into the Council of Bishops. Read More

Bishops support church reforms, accountability

Eighty active and retired bishops endorsed widespread reforms, including accountability for promoting church growth. Read More

Bishops face challenge on same-sex unions

In states where gay marriage is legal, United Methodist leaders focus on upholding church law while encouraging dialogue and respect. Read More

Church rejects move toward regional bodies

Bishops ratify five of 32 proposed amendments to the church's constitution. Read More

Pelosi hails church agency on health reform

Speaker says Board of Church and Society sent clear message to support reform. Read More

Tara Thronson of the Southwest Texas Annual (regional) Conference speaks on a petition from the Church and Society legislative committee during the 2008 United Methodist General Conference.

Church tackles difficult subject of abortion

General Conference votes to continue membership with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. Read More

Elvira Arellano took sanctuary in Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago for one year ending in August of 2007 before her arrest in Los Angeles.

Church supports justice for migrants

United Methodists have adopted resolutions supporting justice for migrants worldwide and reform of U.S. immigration laws. Read More

Delegate Andreas Elfving of the Finland-Swedish Provisional Conference speaks in a session of the legislative committee on church and society during the 2004 United Methodist General Conference in Pittsburgh.

General Conference 101: All you ever wanted to know

/umns_338_070643_234.jpg" staff="" status="" submit="" suggest="" superintendent="" system="" t="" taken="" than="" that="" the="" their="" theme="" they="" this="" those="" three="" through="" to="" together="" told="" total="" toward="" translated="" translation="" treasurer="" trying="" umns="" united="" unitinga="" up="" verbatim="" visitors="" volunteers="" vote="" vote.="" votes="" wade="" was="" we="" west="" what="" which="" who="" will="" williamsport="" with="" written="""" /> <h4>How does the petition process work?</h4><p>Any United Methodist individual or organization may petition General Conference. Each petition should only address one paragraph in the <u>Book of Discipline</u> or one subject in the <u>Book of Resolutions</u>. The petition should include a suggested topic, clear indication of the additions and deletions and whether financial costs are involved. Petitions may be sent by e-mail to <a href=""></a>. Petitions may be sent by mail to Petitions Secretary Gary W. Graves, United Methodist General Conference, P.O. Box 188, Beaver Dam, KY 42320-0187. All petitions must be sent by Oct. 26, 2007. A hand-printed or typed petition that must be keyed into the <u>DCA</u> must be received by Sept. 1.</p><p>Petitioners may include a 50-word maximum rationale for disciplinary petitions. The rationale will be placed only on the General Conference Web site.</p><h4>How is hospitality provided at General Conference?</h4><p>Some 4,000 people will serve in a variety of volunteer roles such as greeters, registration officials, marshals, pages, translators, hosts and hostesses, guides, drivers, musicians, technicians, reporters and emergency-response volunteers.</p><p>The Rev. Thomas Childs, director of host operations, told United Methodist News Service that nine teams will operate under the theme "Gracious Hospitality." The teams hope to "create an atmosphere of grace and civility that sets the stage for true Christian conferencing."</p><p>The teams, under the general leadership of Bishop Ben Chamness and host operations chairpersonthe Rev. Allen Goss, will provide special care for international delegates. They also will aid delegates who lose their luggage or experience housing problems.</p><p>Among other things, the teams plan to provide health screenings, a daily exercise program, a fun run and a prayer room and labyrinth. They will provide tours, information about restaurants and special services for bishops and their spouses. Cookies have been provided by host committees of preceding conferences, but recently convention center officials have expressed concern about food safety since they have no control over who brings in the food or its contents. Stay tuned.</p><p>The host committee also will provide hospitality for a pre-conference session on Jan. 24-26 for news organizations and heads of delegations.</p><h4>What is the Area Night?</h4><p>The international award-winning Texas Boys Choir will perform on Sunday evening. The informal Texas-theme evening will include a general reception taking the place of the bishops' reception, which traditionally was held on the evening before sessions begin.</p><h4>What will be the major speeches at General Conference?</h4><div class="pull-image-editorial right"><img alt="" src="{DB6A45E4-C446-4248-82C8-E131B6424741}/hs_powell_lyn_07t.jpg" /> <div class="pull-image-editorial-caption"> <p><em>Lyn Powell</em></p> </div> </div><p>Daily sessions begin with worship, and in the opening week there will be three speeches: an Episcopal address, Laity Address and a first-ever Young People's Address.</p><p>The Episcopal Address will be given by Illinois Area Bishop Sharon Brown Christopher on behalf of the Council of Bishops, which will approve the address before delivery.</p><p>The Laity Address will be delivered by Lyn Powell, lay leader of the North Georgia Conference and president of the Southeastern Jurisdiction's lay leader association. The title of her speech as approved by Annual Conference Lay Leaders will be "Hope for the Future: Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for a Transformed World." The address will be part of conference theme "A Future with Hope."</p><p>The Division on Ministries with Young People will select a youth speaker or speakers at its August meeting and will announce its selection on Sept. 1.</p><p>Many bishops will speak in Fort Worth area churches on the Sunday prior to the gathering.</p><h4>Will delegates have an opportunity for orientation?</h4><p>In an opening session, three general agencies (Commission on the Status and Role of Women, the Commission on Religion and Race and the Board of Global Ministries) will conduct a 20-minute training session to foster gender, racial and international inclusiveness. Presentations and a video will encourage delegates to allow time for translations, to respect cultural differences, and to include women, people of color and people from other nations in leadership positions.</p><p>Prior to their arrival in Fort Worth, delegates will receive a DVD explaining the rules and procedures for General Conference, an introduction to Fort Worth, the duties of legislative committee officers, tips on obtaining a visa to the United States and the importance of inclusiveness.</p><p>Prior to the gathering, the Commission on the Status and Role of Women and the Women's Division will hold an orientation session for women, and the Inter-Ethnic Strategy Development Group will hold a session for ethnic minorities.</p><h4>What is the proposal for making the U.S. church a regional body?</h4><p>United Methodist churches in the United States may become part of a regional body, similar to church units in Africa, Europe and Asia if the 2008 General Conference approves four constitutional amendments striking out language that says central conferences are only for areas of the church outside the United States.</p><p>If those amendments are approved by two-thirds of the delegates to General Conference and two-thirds of the aggregate number of members attending annual conferences, the way would be cleared for the 2012 General Conference to introduce legislation creating a central conference for U.S. churches. The proposal, presented by a task force examining the global nature of the denomination, would allow central conferences to form or continue jurisdictions.</p><div class="pull-image-editorial right"><img alt="" src="{DB6A45E4-C446-4248-82C8-E131B6424741}/umns_338_070644_234.jpg" /> <div class="pull-image-editorial-caption"> <p><em>Seating assignments for conference delegates are very important. A UMNS file photo by John C. Goodwin.</em></p> </div> </div><p>The proposal acknowledges the fact that 30 percent of United Methodist members now live outside the United States and legislation that could be proposed to the 2012 General Conference would eliminate U.S.-specific concerns from General Conference. Those concerns would become the business of a U.S. Central Conference.</p><p>The 2008 General Conference will be asked to allow the task force and the Connectional Table to jointly continue their study of the church's worldwide nature and report to the 2012 legislative assembly on the church's characteristics and how the United States could become a regional conference while retaining its five jurisdictions where bishops are elected.</p><h4>How are seating assignments made?</h4><p>With nearly 1,000 delegates, gaining the attention of the chair in order to speak to the assembly can be difficult. Therefore, seating assignments become very important.</p><p>Delegations seated in the back half of the assembly hall in Pittsburgh will be in the front half in Fort Worth. The Commission on General Conference places the names of 2004 delegations seated in the back half in a hat; commission members pull the names, with those first drawn gaining a seat on the front row. The names of delegations that occupied front row seats in 2004 are drawn only after the other names have been drawn. The delegation from Nigeria will be in the first row at the 2008 gathering.</p><p>*Peck is a retired clergy member of New York Annual Conference. He has attended 10 General Conference sessions, including four as editor of the <u>Daily Christian Advocate</u>. He served as an editor for United Methodist News Service at the 2004 assembly.</p><p>News media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or <a href=""></a>.</p> <!-- <h4>Related Articles</h4><p><a data-cke-saved-href="" href="">Oct. 26 deadline set for General Conference petitions</a></p><p><a data-cke-saved-href="" href="">General Conference host issues call to prayer</a></p><p><a data-cke-saved-href="" href="">Commission proposes changes in General Conference</a></p><p><a data-cke-saved-href="" href="">Volunteer pages, marshals needed for '08 assembly</a></p>-->' override='A guide for the 2008 meeting where United Methodists will set direction for the church for 2009-12.' override2='' preview_words='50' show_full_summary='{mrow:show_full_summary}' } Read More