Wisconsin Annual Conference Delegate to General Conference Steve Zekoff explained the three plans delivered by the Commission on a Way Forward, as well as the Council of Bishops’ (COB) Recommendation regarding the future structure of the United Methodist Church as it pertains to LGBTQ issues. He said that the Commission on a Way Forward offered three models to Council of Bishops: One Church Plan, Traditionalist Plan and Connectional Conference Plan; and the COB recommends the One Church Plan.

Information about all three plans will be provided to the 2019 special General Conference delegates, with the full proposal to be released by July 8, 2018 when all translations are completed, he said. “The One Church Plan allows contextualization regarding human sexuality in U.S. and Central Conferences, encourages generous unity, enables UMs to address different missional contexts in ways that reflect theological convictions, removes from Book of Discipline restrictive language against practice of homosexuality, and includes assurance that Conferences will not be forced to ordain self-avowed, practicing homosexuals or pastors to perform same-sex weddings,” he explained.

Zekoff said that the Traditionalist Plan retains current Book of Discipline language and seeks to strengthen enforcement, while the Connectional Conference Plan allows Conferences to choose affiliation among three connectional Conferences based on approach to LGBTQ issues—traditionalist, progressive, or blended—rather than geography.

The Judicial Council ruled that petitions that are “in harmony” with the purpose of the special session may be submitted by July 8, 2018, Zekoff stated. “The delegates don’t know any more than you do, and have not made any decisions,” he said, “Wisconsin delegates will be seeking input from all over the state in Fall meetings.”

Clergy delegates include Dan Dick, Sam Royappa and Steve Zekoff. Lay delegates include Lisa King, Barbara Dick and Gail Burgess. Clergy reserves include Amanda Stein, Jorge Mayorga, Dan Schwerin, Jeremy Deaner, George Kafer and Jenny Arneson. Lay reserves include Katie Crise, Tom Popp, Judy Vasby, John Lawson and Julie Schubring.

View Zekoff’s slides here.