Frequently Asked Questions about General Conference
What does it mean that called Virtual General Conference was canceled?
The purpose of the called conference was to suspend the rules of the General Conference in order to provide for a mechanism that would allow delegates (including internationals) to vote by means of paper ballots. The Council of Bishops will consider next steps at its next regular meeting in April. That meeting should provide some clarity around the question of any future called General Conference. The Commission on General Conference has scheduled the postponed 2020 Conference to August 29-September 6, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
What does all this mean to my local church?
Until the General Conference meets, nothing in our church polity, doctrine or discipline has changed. Therefore, nothing has changed for any local church. United Methodism continues under the 2016 Book of Discipline until further General Conference changes if any. Therefore, no church at this point will be asked to make any decisions or take a vote regarding alignment with any particular group
When the General Conference meets what will be the choices for my church?
It is difficult to precisely say what choices a local church might have until legislation is actually passed by the General Conference. There are several purposed pieces of legislation, but most General Conferences go through a process of amendments and deletions of legislation before the final product is approved by the legislative body. A church could end up having multiple options, no options or limited options. It is misleading and premature to say at this point that there are viable legislative choices now for anyone to decide where they might end up. The Oklahoma General Conference delegation will be involved in voting and debate on the final pieces of legislation that are considered by the General Conference. No prior agreements by any group can supersede General Conference actions.
How can people in my church keep up with what is happening with the denomination, the General and Jurisdictional Conferences and any changes that might affect them?
While there may be some communication pieces circulating from various groups, the conference website will contained offical regularly updated information as soon as we get it https://www.okumc.org/gc2020resources. The information contained here will be as complete as we are able to obtain. All communications sent to Oklahoma United Methodist regarding any decisions will come from our official email system and will be clearly identified with the conference logo.
When General Conference does act will my church have enough time to decide what to do?
Again, it may not be necessary for any church to take any action, or just limited action, depending on what is passed. However most proposals that have been submitted contain a transition period for action if needed. The Annual Conference will be prepared to help with any needed transitions.
Will the Oklahoma Annual Conference be voting on any choices?
The annual conference will not be voting on any of these matters unless legislation is passed by the General Conference giving the annual conference options to vote on matters related to its actions.
What about our church property?
United Methodist Church property is covered by the trust clause of the 2016 Book of Discipline. Unless that is changed all United Methodist properties will continue to be under those requirements.
Can churches join a new denomination before General Conference action?
There are some provisions in the Discipline for churches to close, buy their property and join another church body. However, those details must be negotiated and worked out with the presiding district superintendent, the conference board of trustees and the annual conference.
With the uncertainty within the denomination are appointments being considered differently at this time?
Appointments are being considered as they have always been considered. First, the consultation process begins with the needs of the church as the priority. Second, the prayful consideration of the available clergy person(s) who have the gifts and graces that best fit the needs. Third, the context of the appointment is taken into consideration. Fourth, the placement of the person into the congregation or other settings of ministry.
Will apportionments be affected by what is going on in the denomination or Annual Conference?
The budget and the apportionment formula used to assess local churches are developed by various annual conference committees and presented to the annual conference by the Annual Conference Council on Finance and Administration. We do not anticipate any changes in how this is currently being done. Therefore, apportionments will continue to be assessed with the expectation that churches will give their best faith effort in fulfilling their obligation in the area.