During the next few weeks, I will be joining United Methodist General Conference delegation leaders and delegates around the world to prepare for the upcoming 2012 General Conference in Tampa, Florida April 24-May 4. I will participate in the US Pre-General Conference briefing in Tampa Jan. 19-21, as well as a briefing in Manila, Philippines and in Harare, Zimbabwe in the weeks that follow.
One major topic of conversation among delegates will be the Connectional Table’s proposed legislation, based on recommendations from the Call to Action Interim Operations Team. This has sparked conversation and debate across the denomination, which is very good. I have also noticed that some blogs and comments are raising several questions. I thought it might be helpful to share a summary of resources that we have prepared related to the proposed legislation.
All of the information regarding the Connectional Table legislation (PDF) is available online. The Connectional Table has worked to provide a wide variety of resources to help in this on-going discussion. Here's a list of resources:
Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
The Connectional Table has made available a FAQ regarding the process of developing the current legislation. The process includes the Call To Action research conducted in 2008, the work of the Interim Operations Team, and the proposed agency restructure.
Proposed UMC Governing Structure (PDF)
The proposed legislation calls for the creation of a Center for Connectional Mission & Ministry (CCMM) under one board of directors to combine the functions of nine general agencies. The essential functions of these entities will be organized into offices of shared services and congregational vitality, leadership excellence, missional engagement, and justice and reconciliation. It also proposes the creation of a General Council on Strategy and Oversight, a diverse, representative 45-member Council that serves the General Conference by electing board members for the CCMM and ensuring that the Board is carrying out the directives of the General Conference.
For the Sake of a New World, We See a New Church: A Call To Action (PDF)
The Council of Bishops wrote an open letter supporting the proposed changes by the Connectional Table. This statement has been endorsed to date by the Iowa, Louisiana and North Texas Conference delegations.
As we prepare to come together for General Conference, there is also a Call To Action Study Guide to help not only delegates, but also local churches understand the challenges and opportunities before The United Methodist Church. The guides are available in English, French and Portuguese. We will continue to post new information and resources online at www.umccalltoaction.org as they become available.
I do believe that we, as a worldwide church, are equipped with the tools and collective wisdom needed to address the adaptive challenge before us: to redirect our energy and resources toward increasing in the number of vital congregations effective in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. I pray that together we will see the light of Christ showing us the best way forward as The United Methodist Church.