ALCOA, Tenn. (July 19, 2018) – The Holston Conference delegation wants to help church members understand and respond to legislation around human sexuality that might be considered at General Conference in February 2019.
To that end, the delegation is close to announcing dates and locations for “guided conversations” throughout Holston Conference, said the Rev. Kim Goddard, delegation leader. These district gatherings will begin in late August and conclude in early November.
Goddard said the Holston delegation hopes to clear some of the confusion surrounding the complex nature of church proceedings as the denomination prepares to address its deep divide on homosexuality.
On Aug. 9, Holston delegates will meet to review details of the "Way Forward" report and accompanying petitions, as well as to plan content for the "guided conversations," Goddard said. “We want to provide opportunities to share information and engage in conversation in ways that are helpful for all of Holston moving forward."
On July 9, the Council of Bishops amended their call for the special General Conference, to be held on Feb. 23-26 next year in St. Louis, Missouri.
“The result of the amended call gives us all three plans to consider, as well as petitions submitted by groups and individuals from across the church,” Goddard said.
Delegates will receive the full proposals for not only the “One Church Plan,” recommended by the Council of Bishops, but also the “Traditional” and “Connectional Conference” plans. “Initially there was a concern the amended call negated petitions submitted from church groups and individuals, but this is not the case,” Goddard said.
The deadline for submitting petitions was July 8.
The first public details of the "Way Forward" report and proposed legislation was revealed July 17 in a Judicial Council docket. (Included in the 231-page request from the bishops is the full Way Forward Commission report, 17 petitions related to implementation of the One Church Plan, 14 petitions for implementation of the Connectional Conference Plan and 17 petitions for implementation of the Traditional Plan, according to United Methodist News Service.)
Holston Conference will send 16 delegates to St. Louis in February 2019. The total number of delegates participating in the Special Session of General Conference is 864. General Conference is the denomination’s top legislative assembly with the only authority to change the Book of Discipline.
Read more about the three church plans in this United Methodist News Service report.
Court docket details proposed plans for UMC (UMNS, 7.18.18)
Holston delegates prepare for GC2019 (The Call, 6.10.18)