February 23-26, 2019 | St. Louis, Missouri | America’s Center
Since 1972, when the church set parameters in the Book of Discipline for ministry to, with, and by homosexual people, The United Methodist Church has struggled with this matter.
The 2016 General Conference took a major step toward trying to resolve the struggle when it approved a Commission on a Way Forward to be appointed by and make recommendations to the Council of Bishops.
The Commission was charged with finding a way forward for our church that maximizes the presence of a United Methodist witness in as many places in the world as possible, that allows for as much contextual differentiation as possible, and that balances an approach to different theological understandings of human sexuality with a desire for as much unity as possible.
In February 2019, a called General Conference will consider legislation growing out of the Commission’s work.
General Conference Primer | READ PRIMER
Special Session of General Conference Q&A | READ Q&A
Pre-Gathering | Saturday, Feb. 23
Delegates will gather on Saturday, Feb. 23 for a day of worship.
Day 1 | Sunday, Feb. 24
The first official day of the session will be Sunday, Feb. 24. The session will begin with worship. Delegates will hear a presentation from the Commission on Way Forward — whose formation General Conference authorized in 2016 to help find ways to keep the church together. They will then spend the day in plenary discussion seeking to discern which of the multiple plans the majority of delegates want to refine.
This is not a day for amending legislation but instead determining what general direction the delegates want to go in. Bishops, who have no vote at General Conference, will preside over the day’s discussions.
Day 2 | Monday, Feb. 25
On Monday, Feb. 25, the delegates will meet in a legislative committee of the whole to amend and vote on petitions. Delegates will elect the chair of the committee from a pool of delegates who have been trained and served as committee chairs in 2016.
Day 3 | Tuesday, Feb. 26
The delegates will return to plenary on Tuesday, Feb. 26, for final voting and to consider what their actions mean for the future, including the next regularly scheduled General Conference in 2020. Again, bishops will preside. The session will adjourn on Tuesday.
As secretary of the General Conference, the Rev. Gary Graves hears many questions about the special 2019 General Conference in St. Louis. Graves recently sat down with UM News to respond to questions he’s hearing from the church. His interview is part of “Seeing a Way Forward,” a video series featuring different perspectives of church leaders on the work of the Commission on a Way Forward. Watch videos