Steve Zekoff, Conference Benefits Officer and General Conference Delegate, gave an update about General Conference, which was held May 10-20 in Portland. He talked about the increasingly global nature of our Church, briefly discussed legislation that did and did not pass – including legislation initiated by Wisconsin, which for the most part was not acted on – and explained the body’s decision to table the majority of discussions about sexuality and, instead, allow the Council of Bishops to form a special committee to recommend a way forward. “This General Conference struggled with change pains,” he said. “It was evident that we are not of one mind on many things throughout the two weeks. Where God is leading The United Methodist Church is not yet clearly seen or embraced by all. What is documented is that the balance of membership is shifting to Africa and other locales in the Southern Hemisphere. We need to learn to live with each other as we continue to change within this country and around the world” He mentioned that the 2020 General Conference session will be held in Minneapolis and encouraged everyone to get involved in some way. “The lifeblood of General Conference is what you don’t see on the live stream,” he said. “Hundreds of volunteers will be needed. I encourage you to offer yourself up to serve the Church in yet a new way.”

He also talked about North Central Jurisdictional Conference to be held in July, when four new bishops will be elected to replace those retiring. He said that no episcopal appointments are guaranteed, including Bishop Jung’s. “We pray he will come back, but we do not know with certainty until the Jurisdictional delegates do their work. We trust in God that the spirit will be present in these works.”