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Survey results guide delegate orientation

A survey of Central Conference delegates is providing important direction for the Pre-General Conference 2020 Orientation for Central Conference Delegates Steering Committee.

Three topics generated the most interest among survey respondents:

  • Conversation opportunities with delegates from other delegations and areas of the Central Conferences (80% of those responding)
  • Educational materials, such as the ADCA, to equip delegates in making informed decisions (73% of those responding)
  • Restructuring proposals affecting the organization and makeup of the denomination (73% of those responding)

Developed and distributed in December 2019, the committee's survey asked Central Conference delegates for input and preferences in seven key areas: logistics, structure, decision-making processes, content of ADCA petitions, learning styles, worship and environments that foster community building.

The findings will be used as the nine-member steering committee drafts the agenda for the Pre-General Conference 2020 Orientation for Central Conference delegates to be held in Minneapolis, Minn. in May. The team made an initial review of the early submissions while gathered in Nashville, Tenn. for the 2020 Pre-General Conference news briefing. The team feels confident that the feedback received will offer clear direction to ensure that Central Conference delegates' needs are met.

Over the next three months, survey submissions will continue to be collected from Central Conference delegates. The steering committee will review responses as they shape the orientation's agenda. About 30 percent of all approved Central Conference delegates have already participated in the survey.

The steering committee anticipates a series of sessions over the three days of the pre-conference orientation, beginning Friday, May 1, 2020, the day of delegates' arrival. As envisioned, the Friday session will focus on opportunities for delegates to meet and get to know one another. The Saturday session, May 2, after opening worship, will include a welcome from Kim Simpson, Chair of the Commission on the General Conference, and Rev. Gary Graves, Secretary of the Commission, and a discussion of the theme for General Conference 2020, "…and KNOW that I am GOD." The Central Conference bishops who are members of the steering committee also will address the group.

Thomas Kemper—the steering committee chair and the General Secretary of Global Ministries—will lead a historic overview of the pre-conference orientation. Kemper will then facilitate the orientation until its conclusion.

The pre-conference orientation was added in September by the Commission on the General Conference as an official part of The United Methodist Church's legislative assembly that convenes every four years. It was created to equalize General Conference preparation between US delegations and Central Conference delegations in Africa, Europe/Eurasia and the Philippines.

"It brings together in one place all Central Conference delegates, building relationships, trust, equity and transparency," Kemper said.

Diane Degnan, Director, UM Public Information

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