Delegates prepare for Special Session 2019

Delegates prepare for Special Session 2019

The Holston Conference delegation met in May at Concord United Methodist Church.

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. (June 11, 2018) -- Sixteen people will represent Holston Conference at a highly anticipated meeting of United Methodist leaders in February 2019.

The Holston delegation, elected at Annual Conference 2015, will join other elected delegates participating in a Special Session of General Conference, to be held Feb. 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Holston delegation attending the Special Session in 2019 is the same delegation that went to Portland, Oregon, for General Conference 2016. However, the Rev. Kim Goddard is the new leader of Holston’s delegation, replacing the Rev. David Graves, who was elected bishop in 2016 and is now serving the Alabama-West Florida Conference.

The Holston delegation includes eight clergy members and eight lay members. They are:

Clergy: Rev. Kim Goddard (leader), Rev. Sandra Johnson, Rev. Carol Wilson, Rev. Wil Cantrell, Rev. Randy Frye, Rev. Mark Flynn, Rev. Paul Seay (alternate), and Rev. Dennie Humphreys (alternate).

Lay: Del Holley, Emily Ballard, Becky Hall, John Tate, Robert Lockaby, Karen Wright, Joyce Moore (alternate), and John Eldridge (alternate).

The total number of delegates participating in the Special Session is 864, about 58 percent from the United States and 30 percent from Africa.

General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church, typically meeting every four years. At the request of General Conference 2016, the Council of Bishops set a plan for addressing the overwhelming number of proposals related to same-sex marriage, the ordination of gay clergy, and related topics. The bishops’ plan involved creating the Commission on a Way Forward and setting a Special Session of General Conference in 2019.

The "regular" General Conference 2020 will follow and will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The purpose of the Special Session in 2019 will be to act on a report from the Council of Bishops based on the recommendations of the Commission on a Way Forward. The 32-member Commission was appointed to examine paragraphs in The Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and explore options to strengthen the unity of the church.

Holston’s delegation will meet in Lake Junaluska -- immediately after this Annual Conference session concludes on June 13 -- to discuss how they will share information about Special Session 2019 with members throughout Holston.

Holston members are invited to join other United Methodists in a prayer plan that began June 3 and will continue through February 2019. Phase 3 of the "Praying Our Way Forward" initiative involves:

  • A weekly Wesleyan 24-hour fast from Thursday after dinner to Friday mid-afternoon
  • Praying for the church’s mission daily from 2:23 through 2:26 (a.m. or p.m.)
  • Using a special prayer calendar

More information about the prayer plan is available at and will also be provided in future editions of The Call.

The Holston Conference delegation invites church members to share their questions and concerns by emailing

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