General Conference 2024

On the opening day of the postponed 2020 General Conference in Charlotte, NC, 751 out of 862 allotted delegates were registered and present. During the opening worship of The General Conference, Bishop Thomas Bickerton, the President of the Council of Bishops, challenged the delegates to work towards “reclaiming, reviving and renewing” the United Methodist Church as they consider critical legislations that would shape the future of our denomination. Bishop Bickerton emphasized the importance of reclaiming our faith in Jesus Christ and embracing the revival of the spirit of God that is stirring within our community. He urged the entire church to commit to renewing the United Methodist Church with a spirit of hope.

Budget 2025-2028

Rev. Moses Kumar presented the denominational budget proposal for the years 2025-2028 on April 24. The budget proposes a significant reduction in funding and a smaller number of bishops. The proposed budget of $353.1 million represents a 42% reduction from the budget approved at the 2016 General Conference. The majority of the budget, approximately $347 million (collection rates 86%), is expected to come from the United States, with $6.1 million (collection rates 59%) expected from central conferences. The proposed budget also includes reducing the number of bishops in the U.S. from 46 to 32 and adding two bishops in Africa, increasing the total number from 13 to 15. Rev. Kumar urged central conferences to increase their donations to support this budget. If the budget proposal is approved, there will be no episcopal elections held in the U.S. this year.

Bishop Harald Rückert, Bishop from Germany Episcopal Area, Chair of Standing Committee of Central Conferences, Christine Schneider-Oesch, Member of the Standing Committee of Central Conferences are presenting the Worldwide Regionalization plan.

Passed Way to Regionalization Voted on Early

The Worldwide Regionalization plan was voted on by the delegates on April 25, and 78% of them voted in favor of it. The amendment will now go before the annual conference for potential ratification, and it will require a two-thirds total vote to be ratified. Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, the president of Council of Bishops, called it “a historic day for our church.” The Michigan Conference, led by Bishop David Bard for the Council of Bishops, proposed some new additions to the Book of Discipline, which allow central conferences to set their standards for marriage rites and clergy ordination. These additions are known as “Regionalization and Contextualization of Marriage.”

Departure of Russian United Methodist Church

Bishop Eduard Khegay from the Northern Europe & Eurasia Episcopal Area gave a moving farewell message to the delegates on April 25.

It is with a heavy heart to report that the delegates have given their approval for four Eurasian Annual conferences in Russia to depart from the denomination which encompasses churches in Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. The four conferences have decided to form the autonomous Christian Methodist Church. Bishop Eduard Khegay is overseeing a total of 66 churches, while the conferences had a membership of 1,123 people as of 2017.

What happens after General Conference?

At the General Conference, a simple majority vote is required for the legislation to be passed. However, if there is a proposal to amend the constitution, it requires a 2/3 vote by the General Conference as well as a 2/3 aggregate vote of lay and clergy members in annual conferences. The Book of Discipline, the Book of Resolutions, and other relevant documents are updated with revisions as approved by the General Conference. The effective date for passed legislation is usually January 1st of the following year.

-Rev. HiRho Park

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