General Conference Recap from 5/17

The General Conference is now getting down to business as calendar items from the committees come to the full assembly. Here is a summary of some of the legislation that was considered yesterday.

 

Term Limits for Bishops
A petition originating with the Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders and handled by the Higher Education/Superintendency Committee. The vote tally was 482 in favor and 332 opposed. Because the legislation required a change to the denomination's constitution, it required a 2/3 vote to pass.

Had the legislation received approval, it would have been elected to a term of eight years with the possibility of being elected to another eight. Bishops are currently elected with lifetime tenure.

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New Hymnal
In approving a consent calendar, the General Conference, on Tuesday, approved  a petition authorizing the creation of a 15-member Hymnal Revision Committee. This gives Discipleship Ministries and the United Methodist Publishing house permission to move forward in creating the first new hymnal for the denomination since 1989.

The new Hymnal will be a big step forward in technology as it will be cloud based and print-on-demand. The committee's recommendations will need to be approved by the 2020 General Conference.

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Deacons and Sacraments
The General Conference approved legislation streamlining the process through which ordained deacons request authority to administer sacraments. Deacons may now request such authority directly from their bishop. Previously, a pastor in charge or a district superintendent was required to make the request of the bishop.

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Bishops Respond to Schism Rumors
Monday evening and Tuesday morning, social media was was busy with rumors that the Council of Bishops were going to create a special commission to explore schism and hold a meeting in 2018 to discuss the plan. Bishop Bruce Ough, president of the Council of Bishops addressed the conference to deny the rumors and express that the Council of Bishops supports church unity.

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