Breaking News from Tuesday: Bishop Ough Responds to Social Media Rumors of Church Split

This morning, Bishop Ough, Minnesota-Dakotas Bishop and President of the Council of Bishops, addressed rumors about a split in The United Methodist Church. He said that while the Council of Bishops is not fully united, the members are not supporting a split of The United Methodist Church. He also indicated the door was still open to "new and innovative ideas," perhaps even new structures. "We have risked exploring what many would consider radical new ideas," Ough said in confirming that the bishops had been meeting with both conservative and progressive groups. “We remain in dialogue, so much of who we are is working, yet so much needs to adapt to new realities… Come Holy Spirit and break through and set us free,” he prayed. “We belong to God and one another.” Click here to watch the full video of his statment and click here to read his full statement.

In response, Bishop Jung said, "This is my heartfelt conviction: that we are one Church, one faith, and all embrace community in God's grace, and I continually pray for Wisconsin United Methodists for the Spirit of unity, of fully committed relationship with LGBTQ communities, and loving inclusion. In the midst of tough struggles, we will live out the unity as one Church. I recognize the hurt and pain of our community, but God's abiding presence will bring the wholeness. I call the healing spirit for all of us. I am praying with Wisconsin delegates for the United Methodist Church."

Wisconsin Delegate Dan Dick also wrote a response to Bishop Ough’s statement in his blog. In addition, read a news story from UMNS.                    

Sam Royappa Shares Reflections

2016 General Conference continues with powerful worship, meaningful fellowship and struggling with numerous issues. I believe God continues to care for all United Methodists around the world and He is watching us and over us. I am grateful to people of prayer who are sincerely and fervently praying over 2016 GC. In the midst of and in spite of rumors, myths, and speculations, God's power is prevailing. This is the time to remember and invoke the Great Promise of Jesus, "I will build my Church."

One of the highlights so far is the approval of approved petitions relating to part-time licensed local pastors who can now be mentors, provided they have completed a course of study. Another resolution, sent by the Wisconsin cabinet, to defer the reduction of U.S. bishops was approved by the legislation committee, after much edition. The plenary has yet to approve it.

The Judicial Council, University Senate, and Commission on 2020 GC elections were completed. The 150th anniversary of United Methodist Women, and Africa University accomplishments, were celebrated. People from the great state of Wisconsin, including present and previous Bishops and their spouses, gathered for an evening meal and fellowship yesterday, and pictures are posted on our Flickr page.

We are called to continue to strengthen the worldwide connection with strategies for leadership development, new places for people, ministry with poor, and local-global health. Thanks be to God!

In addition, read new posts from Dan Dick on his blog, United Methodeviations.

An Update on Wisconsin Petitions

By Steve Zekoff

Resolution 3207 Quality in United Methodist Health Care was not considered by the Legislative Committee.

All legislation concerning Global Church Structure (submitted by both Wisconsin and Northern Illinois) were intentionally set aside and not considered by the legislative committee. They were earlier drafts of the North East Jurisdiction (NEJ) Global Structure Task Force legislation proposals.  None of the NEJ proposals were supported by the Legislative Committee.

The Conferences Legislative Committee passed a heavily amended version of Petition 60932, Defer Reduction in U.S. Episcopal Areas.  General Conference will be acting on a substitute Petition 60932 that will defer action on reducing any episcopal areas until 2020, plus establish a task force to study the future jurisdictional alignments in the U.S.

Sam Royappa Submits Request to Committee on Courtesies and Privileges       

During Monday morning’s plenary, Sam Royappa submitted a request to the Committee on Courtesies and Privileges to remember the General Conference of The United Methodist Church in India as they conduct their General Conference session in in South India on Sunday. “The Methodists in India were part of The United Methodist Church in South Asia, a Central Conference of UMC, until 1981. It has been autonomously affiliated since then. In 1976, the General Conference of  The United Methodist Church, which took place in Portland, passed a motion for their autonomy status. Let us celebrate and pray for their General Conference as they do their business in a different part of the world.” In response, presiding Bishop Goodpaster said, “We will continue to celebrate and to be in prayer with all of these concerns that have been lifted to us, especially to our sisters and brothers in India as they gather in their General Conference.”

Bishop Jung Preached on Pentecost Sunday

Bishop Jung preached at Tabor Height UMC for Pentecost Sunday. "It is located 6 miles away from the convention center," he said. "This church is one of the historic churches in this area. It was a great Sunday." View photos on our General Conference Flickr album.

May 16 Wrap-Up: Week Two Begins with Elections, Celebrations, Protests

Before tackling the pile of petitions before them, delegates to General Conference 2016 voted to fill vacancies in key positions on the Judicial Council, University Senate and the Commission on General Conference. In other news, United Methodist Women celebrates its 150th and more than 1,500 clergy signed a letter of support for LGBTQ rights. Joey Butler reports. Read story and post a comment.

Lack of Youth Delegates Leaves General Conference Commission Slot Unfilled

The lack of youth delegates among the 864 delegates to General Conference 2016 means that for the second time in a row, the commission that runs the denomination’s top legislative assembly will not have a youth delegate. Charmaine Robledo, director of communications for the Mountain Sky Area, has the story. Read story.

More Bishops for Africa, But Not Right Away

General Conference 2016 delegates approved adding five more bishops in Africa, but not until 2020, when a comprehensive plan is to be in place for the continent's central conference and episcopal area boundaries. Some African delegates wanted to add two bishops right away, arguing that the church's growth in Africa demands it. Sam Hodges has the story. Read story and post a comment.

Guaranteed Appointment Survives

Some clergy-related petitions have passed at General Conference 2016, and others are likely to be adopted, having made it onto the consent calendar. But a petition for "early ordination" and another that would have begun the process to remove the constitutional bar to ending guaranteed appointment for ordained elders failed in committee. Sam Hodges reports. Read story and post a comment.

Bishops Vow to Work Toward Unity, Accountability

United Methodist bishops have adopted a “Covenant of Accountability,” in which they pledge to work for church unity and remain in community with each other despite differences in Christian conscience. Heather Hahn has the story. Read story and post a comment.

GC2016 Celebrates Africa University

As Africa University approaches its 25th anniversary, delegates to the 2016 General Conference took a few moments Monday afternoon to celebrate one of the denomination's high points. “You and The UMC have answered a call to witness through this transforming ministry,” Munashe Furusa, vice chancellor of Africa University, told delegates. Erik Alsgaard reports. Read story and post a comment.