CHICAGO: On January 22, 2016 during the Pre-General Conference briefing held in Portland, Oregon for delegates to the upcoming 2016 General Conference, panelists discussed multiple plans being offered to restructure The United Methodist Church. Panelist and Connectional Table (CT) member Fred Brewington explained the CT’s stance on such proposals by reading from a document issued by the Connectional Table that states:
"The Connectional Table neither adopts nor endorses any of the current restructuring proposals beyond the process proposals being submitted by the CT. However, as a part of its mandate, the CT recommends the following principles to assist the church as it discusses, approaches, engages and makes decisions on matters relating to our future structure, organization, relationships, and processes:
o do no harm, do all the good we can, and stay in love with God
o not act in haste and allow God to order our steps
o welcome the movement of the Holy Spirit and be open to new revelations
o engage in meaningful discernment with active listening
o respect our differences and embrace our unity in Christ
o be intentionally inclusive of all God’s people
o be mindful of the impact processes have on God’s people
o be willing to reposition the prism through which we view the world
o engage in radical openness to foster genuine dialogue and cooperation.”
To help United Methodists engage conversations about restructuring the denomination, the CT has submitted two non-disciplinary petitions to establish processes inviting jurisdictional and central conference members to: 1) consider how churches in the United States make decisions that only pertain to churches in the US; and 2) discern the needed functions and structure of a council that would serve the worldwide church. These conversations are in continued response to the report of the Worldwide Nature Study committee to the 2012 General Conference and will supplement the work that the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters is doing on the General Book of Discipline to clarify our identity as a worldwide connection. The Jurisdictional Process Proposal is Petition #60816 and the General Church Council Proposal is Petition number #60815. The English translation of the ADCA is now available online.
The Executive Committee of The Connectional Table believes these processes will bring the best thinking to the table as we move toward more fully living into what it means to be a worldwide church.
General Conference will be held May 10-20, 2016, in Portland, Oregon.