General Conference 2012 in Tampa, Fla.
General Conference delegates began their second week by making two decisions involving United Methodist bishops, while gearing up to vote on a restructuring compromise and eliminating guaranteed appointments later this week.
They voted against the “set-aside bishop”: a proposal to add a paragraph to the Constitution that would enable the Council of Bishops to elect a full-time president without residential responsibilities.
They also voted against an effort to amend the Constitution to limit the terms of bishops to eight years with the possibility of one re-election.
Here is the United Methodist News Service “wrap” article explaining these actions and other highlights of today’s General Conference:
Delegates in the news
This morning, the Courtesies and Privileges Committee expressed sympathy for the April 24 death of Jay Garrison, Holston Conference delegate and Judicial Council nominee. Later, Bob Lockaby was submitted as a nominee for Judicial Council in Garrison’s honor, but was not elected. (See UMNS story on Judicial Council election.)
The General Conference today increased the number of youth, young adults and persons from central conferences on the 25-member Commission on General Conference. Megan Watson was then nominated for the Commission on General Conference. If she is elected on Thursday, she will participate in planning General Conference 2012.
Some Holston delegates said they were glad that Central Conference and young adult delegates were more visible and audible than in years past, and that relationships were better.
“This has been one of our better General Conferences,” said the Rev. Jerry Russell, alternate delegate. “There seemed to be more harmony and collegiality in the committees. This ‘holy conferencing’ is working.”
“God’s holy spirit is in the midst of all this work,” noted the Rev. David Graves. “You can talk about legislation, but it’s all circumstantial.”
See today's photos of Holston people on Facebook.
However, some delegates were concerned that unproductive legislation and discussion would thwart research and proposals intended to restructure the church, with a goal of reversing U.S. decline.
“Right now, we don’t have anything on the floor,” Graves said this morning. “We could go away with nothing because we can’t agree on anything.”
“The big picture is we need more people concerned about the common good, not just their local area, with shared sacrifice,” said the Rev. Wil Cantrell.
(Later in the day, delegates were told that a compromise plan on two different restructuring proposals would likely be presented for the General Conference’s consideration on Wednesday, May 2. See UMNS story.)
Cantrell reminded Holston members that the decision on eliminating guaranteed appointments will be considered this week – “with a guaranteed amendment on due process.”
Several delegates complimented the leadership of Del Holley, head of the delegation. “He is a very non-anxious presence,” said the Rev. Dennie Humphreys. "He has led us well.”
Rev. Daniel Taylor arrived today for what he called his “swan song,” after eight years of serving on the General Council on Finance and Administration. He said that the GCFA meets during dinner sessions to figure out how and if they can fund the decisions that the General Conference makes about the denomination's future.
Rev. Douglas Grove-DeJarnett left Tampa today, having completed his fifth General Conference stint as a General Commission on Religion and Race monitor.
Rev. Jim Noseworthy, former Hiwassee president, is in attendance with 12 seminary students who are taking General Conference as a class. Noseworthy is vice president of administration at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
Watch Holston.org this week for "GC Journal," The Call's coverage of General Conference for Holston readers.
See Friday's (April 27) "GC Journal."
Also visit Facebook.Holston.org and Twitter @TheCall_Holston for ongoing coverage, especially photos and late-breaking news.
For quick links to live streaming and the Holston delegation list, visit gc2012.holston.org.
For extensive, minute-by-minute coverage with news, analysis, photos, videos, Twitter, Facebook, live streaming, blogs, and more, visit UMC.org.
Annette Spence is editor of The Call. Text news or photos to (865) 719-9715, email email@example.com, or Twitter to Annette Spence @Pauledith.
Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newspaper.