What will happen if the General Conference does not approve any of the three plans in the Commission’s report?

If General Conference takes no action, we will continue to live under the UMC’s current doctrine and rules as printed in the Book of Discipline, 2016.

 

In your opinion, what is the least likely option to pass?

The plan with the highest requirement for passage and the least support at the present time is the Connectional Conference Plan. It requires a 2/3 vote of the General Conference to amend the Constitution and then a 2/3 vote of all the annual conference members worldwide.

 

Once the General Conference decides on one of these three plans, how long will it be before the local United Methodist Churches begin to see changes?

General Conference actions usually take effect January 1 of the following year, in this case January 1 of 2020. However, it could state that the changes take effect immediately.

 

The United Methodist Church has been dealing with the issue of human sexuality since 1972. If we decide on this in 2019, is there a chance we will continue debating the issue?

Every General Conference can alter the action of a previous General Conference. However, there has been such focus on this issue and such attention paid that the direction set in February will most likely persist for many years in the future.

 

I understand that most of the Bishops recommended the One Church Plan. What was the actual percentage of the Bishops’ recommendation for each of the three plans?

61% of the active bishops voted for the One Church Plan. The other 39% voted for one of the other two plans.

 

Can a graceful exit plan be added to the One Church and the Connectional Conference Plan?

Yes, a graceful exit plan can be added to either of the other two plans.

 

How many outside proposals will be presented?

The number of additional petitions has not been disclosed. Some may be rejected because they are viewed as not in harmony with the terms of the call for the special session. We will know the additional petitions by November 26.

 

What criterion is necessary for a proposal to be accepted?

The criterion is whether a petition is in harmony with the terms of the call for the special session. I presume if it addresses the same paragraphs of the Book of Discipline addressed by one of the three plans, it is in harmony.

 

How will the voting be done at General Conference? (If plan A passes, do they go on to plan B, Plan C…)

A design team is currently working on the process for how the General Conference will act on the Commission’s report and the valid petitions. They will recommend that to the Commission on the General Conference who will decide this fall.

 

If one plan gets majority plus one, does the voting stop?

Once the General Conference convenes, it will stay in session until it votes to adjourn, but that will be no later than 5:00 pm on February 26.

 

On what grounds will any of the Plans be ruled unconstitutional?

There are several grounds for finding that a proposal violates our constitution. For example, the General Conference is not allowed to delegate certain powers to annual conferences. In another example, the Judicial Council has said that the General Conference is not allowed to set minimum penalties for particular offenses. There are several others as well.

 

If they are ruled unconstitutional, can they be amended to be constitutional?

If the Judicial Council ruling in October says that a plan or part of a plan is unconstitutional, delegates can offer amendments to remedy that defect during the General Conference session.\

 

I am hearing a lot about the Heart and Mind Listening Sessions. Is this an extension of the Bishop’s Table Talks or is this hosted by a different group?

The Heart and Mind Listening sessions are organized by the Texas Conference’s Core Leadership Team in response to a resolution approved last May by the Annual Conference. It is an opportunity for different voices to be heard by our General Conference delegation.

 

How can I be praying?

Pray daily for wisdom for all General Conference delegates, that God’s vision for The United Methodist Church might guide their decisions.

 

For more questions, send an email to communications@txcumc.org