Media coverage of General Conference 2008 was more extensive and accessible than ever. United Methodist Communications provided a Web site with updated news reports, transcripts, audiovisuals, legislative tracking, a photo gallery, and many other resources. Holston Conference Communications provided its own online reports and photos.
But with so much coverage, many readers had trouble finding the quick, easy news. ("I don't want to read about the prayer room. What did they actually do?") Here are selected stories and sites providing highlights of what happened at General Conference 2008, held April 23-May 2 in Fort Worth, Texas:
coverage at gc2008.holston.org
Daily on-site updates from the Holston angle, with photos of Holston members during the final four (and most intense) days of General Conference
UMNS daily wrap-up stories
Selected UMNS stories (actions):
- Assembly approves $642 million
General Conference approves a denominational spending plan built around
four areas of mission and ministry.
- Church supports justice for migrants: United Methodists have adopted resolutions supporting justice for migrants worldwide and reform of U.S. immigration laws.
- Church tackles
difficult subject of abortion:
General Conference votes to continue membership with the Religious
Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
- Delegates reject petitions aimed at ineffective clergy: Pension plans adopted in 2004 are also retained.
- Justice petitions
address welfare, hate, torture:
Resolutions call for work toward a living wage to be a worldwide
- United Methodists reject divestment from Israel: While rejecting divestment, General Confrence delegates urge advocating for peace in the Middle East.
- United Methodist mission statement revised: Additional wording tells why church seeks to make disciples of Jesus
- United Methodists expand global health campaign: Capital campaign will raise $75 to $100 million to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
- United Methodists will pledge to ‘witness’: New members will promise to be faithful in “their witness” as well as
in their prayers, presence, gifts and service.
- Church adopts proposed
creed as litany: While the Social Creed will continue in its 1972 language, the new
litany will provide an accompanying "poetic expression."
seeking to control Judicial Council ruled unconstitutional:
General Conference can set the council's quorum, but organization and
operation are the court’s prerogatives.
- Four jurisdictions will each lose one bishop under new plan: Assembly mandates fewer bishops in U.S. to free funding for more leaders in central conferences.
- United Methodists uphold homosexuality stance: After forceful arguments on both sides, delegates retain language in the denomination’s Book of Discipline.
- Delegates continue Study of Ministry Commission: A commission studying the ordering of ministry in The United Methodist Church is being continued for four more years.
- Proposed new hymnal will go to 2012 assembly: Delegates approve a panel to revise the United Methodist Hymnal and a study to develop an Africana songbook.
- United Methodists raise bishops’ retirement age: Raising the age from 66 to 68 gives three bishops the option of reconsidering plans for retiring this year.
- Five new members are
elected to Judicial Council:
The 2008 General Conference elects two clergy and three lay members to
serve on the top court of The United Methodist Church.
- Church task force to examine global warming: General Conference instructs a task force to look for ways to reduce the church’s negative ecological impact.