Wednesday, May 04, 2016

"Global Connectional Conference" - #UMCGC Petition

Methodist nerds, here's a plan coming to General Conference this year, called the "Global Connection Plan" and it is a restructure of the denomination.

The nutshell idea is to create a "Global ConnectionalConference" to deal with world-wide matters, 4 "Connectional Conferences" that would deal with continental matters (Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America, then "Regional Conferences" that would be like our current "Jurisdictions." Annual Conferences would remain the same.

There are more details in the link, if you are interested CLICK HERE.

On one level, this plan seems to me just adding one more layer of complexity to the current structure. And there's no getting around that basic fact. Whereas currently the UMC is organized into five concentric circles (charge, district, annual, jurisdictional, general), this plan clearly adds one. Wouldn't that be just one more tangle in the hairball?

Yet on the other hand I am sympathetic to the goal of this plan. There are definitely issues and questions that apply to the church anywhere and everywhere in the world, and at the same time issues and questions that are dramatically different in different areas of the world. Does it not make sense to have a venue in which to address what is peculiar to the North American church, as well as other regions.

This plan is parallel to an idea coming from the StandingCommittee on Central Conference Matters, namely the creation of a Global Book of Discipline. This plan would scale down the denominational Book of Discipline to include ONLY those matters pertinent to the entire global church. (And by the way, that plan still forbids pastors from conducting "homosexual unions," so apparently they think that issue is important enough to apply to the entire planet.)

I like the idea of the simplification of the Book of Discipline and of having a more focused denominational gathering. But I am on the fence about the Global Connection, to be honest. I need to know that it won't be making things even more complicated than they already are.

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