Three Texas General Conference Delegations Meet to Discuss Future of the UMC

Delegation Leaders in photograph (l-r): Tim Bruster (Clergy, Central Texas), Tom Harkrider (Lay, Central Texas), Teresa Keese (Lay, Rio Texas), Ruben Saenz (Clergy, Rio Texas), Laura Merrill (clergy, Rio Texas), Abel Vega (Lay, Rio Texas), Jan Jokinen Davis (Clergy, North Texas), Tim Crouch (Lay, North Texas).

Delegation Leaders in photograph (l-r): Tim Bruster (Clergy, Central Texas), Tom Harkrider (Lay, Central Texas), Teresa Keese (Lay, Rio Texas), Ruben Saenz (Clergy, Rio Texas), Laura Merrill (clergy, Rio Texas), Abel Vega (Lay, Rio Texas), Jan Jokinen Davis (Clergy, North Texas), Tim Crouch (Lay, North Texas).

What does the future hold for the United Methodist Church?  Three General Conference delegations met on May 15, 2015 to discuss priorities for guiding the UMC’s future at General Conference 2016.  General Conference is the top legislative body of the United Methodist Church and meets every four years.  The full delegations of Central Texas, Rio Texas and North Texas Annual Conferences gathered at the historic St. Johns UMC in Georgetown, Texas.

During lunch the delegates fellowshipped around tables assigned to their respective legislative committee assignments.  At General Conference 2016 in Portland, Oregon, delegates are assigned to one of twelve legislative committees.  Each committee deals with a certain portion of the Book of Discipline. 

This tri-delegation gathering was not only an opportunity to form relationships, but also to discuss the future of the United Methodist Church and potential legislation that will come to General Conference. 

Following lunch, a variety of delegates presented new legislative proposals on multiple topics including Human Sexuality, the Global Book of Discipline, Restructuring of the Church (Plan UMC Revised) and the Mission 21 Task Force (South Central Jurisdiction realignment).  The delegates considered fifteen legislative proposals coming from the Annual Conference Lay Leader’s group which have already received support from laity. 

The delegates received an update on changes to the daily schedule and legislative process of GC2016 by a member of the Commission on General Conference.  Additionally, the delegates considered the election of Judicial Council representation and weighed the qualities needed for an effective member of the Judicial Council. 

These delegations will come together again with delegations across the jurisdiction at a pre-jurisdictional conference meeting this fall.