Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ.
The Called Special Session of the General Conference concluded on February 26, 2019. The opening day of the conference was devoted to a day of prayer. Delegates prayed for the world, the church, the ministry, one another, and themselves.
The delegates of the conference worked diligently seeking a way to find a way forward for the denomination around issues of human sexuality, specifically how we ministry with LGBTQIA persons. The United Methodist Church continues to affirm that “all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God.” Additionally, the Church affirms that “God’s grace is available to all” and aspires “to be in ministry for and with all persons.” (Quotes from The Book of Discipline 2016 ¶161G.)
The conference voted to retain the traditional definition of marriage, continued the policy that does not provide for clergy to officiate or churches to host same gender weddings, and continues the current standards for ordination.
The conference adopted legislation requiring bishops to provide additional certification that they will uphold provisions of the Discipline or face involuntary changes in relationship with the church, to insure persons nominated to credentialing bodies uphold all the Discipline, and to guide the process for the administration of complaints.
These matters were referred to the Judicial Council for a declaratory ruling regarding their constitutionality. When the Judicial Council releases their findings after their review of the legislation, the Church will then know what has been enacted. For now, please continue to pray for the church, for all who have felt pain and harm from the proceedings, and for God to guide us in the path ahead.
A plan for a church to disaffiliate from the denomination was approved.
The Oklahoma Conference delegates dedicated themselves to tasks before them. The process was emotionally challenging for everyone in the room, regardless of their convictions. Thank you for your prayers before and during the meeting. Please continue to pray for the church.