General Conference Update and Implications for the Mississippi Conference
In light of the second postponement of General Conference 2020 and the Council of Bishops’ cancellation of a planned one-day General Conference on May 8, 2021, a number of you have asked what does this mean for the Mississippi Conference, and how do these decisions affect life in Mississippi and The United Methodist Church.
The Mississippi Conference is fortunate to have five groups of your fellow lay and clergy members that are deeply involved in various aspects of this work. Two of these groups are time-limited task forces with a narrow focus, while three are standing entities. Each group is tasked with considering different aspects of much of what you are reading about in regards to the future of our church, and what may or may not happen at General Conference 2020 now scheduled for August 29 – September 6, 2022 in Minneapolis. Below is a summary of each group.
- Transition Team - I organized a time-limited Transition Team last summer for the purpose of helping to facilitate the effective transition/ onboarding of the new resident bishop who was anticipated in late 2020. The group was also charged with helping inform and make recommendations to the conference leadership and the Mississippi Annual Conference regarding the outcomes from General Conference 2020. This group works in conjunction with the members of the Mississippi Annual Conference Episcopacy Committee. Each district superintendent nominated two lay and two clergy members for this team. Of the 44 invited individuals, 33 people agreed to participate in this work.
- Realignment Task Force - A new group of 10 lay and clergy members will be organized this summer to begin analyzing how our districts would be best organized to support local churches. This work is envisioned to last at least two years since their work must ultimately address any outcomes from General Conference 2020 late next year. This group will also examine the relationship of the district superintendent with local churches. This work is sorely needed since the last district alignment took place in the early 1990s when the conference had over 1,200 churches versus the over 950 churches we have now.
- Delegation - The Mississippi Conference elects a delegation of lay and clergy every four years to represent our conference at the General and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conferences. The delegation works primarily with the proposed legislation which each of the above-mentioned conferences will consider.
- Vital Congregations Committee (VCC) - This discernment body has existed since 2014 and is comprised of a lay and clergy member from nine congregations. These churches are approved by the annual conference for staggered three-year terms and help keep us focused on long-term, big picture items like our four Core Values: love, generosity, justice and apprenticeship.
- Mississippi Leadership Team (MLT) - This team practices the same L3 (loving, learning, leading) philosophy that guides the work of each district leadership team (DLT). The MLT is currently comprised of nine individuals who are tasked with addressing the adaptive work facing the Mississippi Conference.
Lastly, due to the second postponement of General Conference, we will not have a special called session of annual conference in October, so feel free to release October 8-9 on your calendars.
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