Capacity Crowds Attend General Conference Information Sessions

3/27/2019

Well over 1,200 laity and clergy from across the North Georgia Conference attended District Gatherings for information on the 2019 Special General Conference this month.

The regional gatherings were held at Cascade UMC Atlanta, Hamilton Mill UMC Dacula, Greensboro UMC, and Kennesaw UMC.

Each session included prayer, song, and Holy Communion. 

In a video message, Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson reminded attendees that the church exists to be the body of Christ in the world. She called on the North Georgia Conference to focus on spiritual practices, to hold one another in love, and to love as Christ loves. She lifted up some of the many things that unite us including our love of Christ, the call of God on our lives, the Holy Spirit which makes us more loving, and the Articles of Religion. (Watch the message from Bishop Sue at https://vimeo.com/323501197/5a6028cb22.)

Led by the District Superintendents, the gatherings included a time to share information on the special session, the legislation that was passed, and relevant dates in the future. There was also time for questions from laity and clergy. 

Thoughtful questions were asked, some with clear answers and others more complex. Some of those questions included:
  • What legislation passed?
    Find a summary at ngumc.org/GC2019 
  • Explain the two WesPath petitions? 
    These two petitions addressed the payment of pension liabilities for churches choosing to exit the denomination. The intent is to eliminate any future pension liability for the affected annual conference. WesPath offers a more detailed explanation at www.wespath.org/wayforwardwespathfaq/.
  • Where is our United Methodist Constitution found?
    Our constitution is part of The Book of Discipline. It establishes the basic outline for the organization of the denomination. (Read a brief definition at UMC.org
  • When will the Judicial Council rule on the actions of General Conference?
    The Judicial Council will rule on the constitutionality of the legislation passed at General Conference at its next scheduled meeting, April 23-26, 2019, in Evanston, Illinois. 
  • When does the legislation that was passed and deemed constitutional become effective?
    Legislation that is found to be constitutional at the April 23-26 meeting of the Judicial Council is expected to become official church law January 1, 2020. 
  • Can the 2020 General Conference change the decision of the 2019 Special Session?
    Each General Conference makes decisions on the submitted requests before it. It is possible the 2020 General Conference may receive similar legislation and those delegates will consider it. The actions of one General Conference do not bind the next General Conference. Every General Conference can alter or revise any previous actions or adopt new policies within the limits of the Constitution.
  • When is the next General Conference?
    May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis. 
Some asked questions about their faith and sense of calling. They were encouraged to continue to faithfully seek, trust, and follow Christ, as answering the call is not contingent solely upon legislation. Others asked questions about the future of our denomination. 

"We don't know," or "we don't know yet," were the answer to many questions. 

The District Superintendents will continue the conversation, offering to share updates as they are available, to continue to meet with their districts, and to continually pray for the church. 


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