Annual conference voters around the globe will be revoting on one of two constitutional amendments dealing with women’s equality. The revote was announced after the Ask The UMC team and United Methodist News Service learned of an error and reported it on May 10 to the Rev. Gary Graves, secretary of General Conference.

At the 2016 General Conference, when the Independent Commissions Committee considered Amendment 1, it deleted the sentence, “The United Methodist Church recognizes it is contrary to Scripture and to logic to say that God is male or female, as maleness and femaleness are characteristics of human bodies and cultures, not characteristics of the divine.” The amended copy also changed the last sentence to “The United Methodist Church shall work collaboratively with others to address concerns that threaten women’s and girls’ equality and well-being.”

“As the petition was processed and then the constitutional amendments were prepared to go out to annual conferences, it appears that ‘delete the second sentence in its entirety’ was missed,” Graves said. “So the words that went to annual conferences contained text that should have been stricken before it went out.”

The amendments were originally sent to bishops and annual conference secretaries in late 2016 by the former secretary of the General Conference, the Rev. Gere Reist. Both Reist and Graves apologized for the error.

Graves told the Commission on General Conference that since the material was wrong, he consulted with the Council of Bishops about how to address the error. The correct wording of the amendment will be sent to the conferences next week. Since some annual and central conferences have already held their sessions this year, their voting will take place next year.

When United Methodist News Service reached out to conference delegates who voted no on this amendment, many cited that sentence as the reason for their votes.

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