General Conference 2020 News & Resources

What is happening in The United Methodist Church?

In February 2019, a special called session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church convened in St. Louis, Mo. The session was called by the Council of Bishops to solely address human sexuality in The United Methodist Church. The delegates were assembled to consider three plans from the Commission on a Way Forward.

Delegates passed the Traditional Plan, which would "affirm the church’s current bans on ordaining LGBTQ clergy and officiating at or hosting same-sex marriage. It also boosts penalties and accountability for transgressions of those bans," according to a report from United Methodist News Service on Feb. 26, 2019. The plan is set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Since then, several groups within the connection have gathered to offer alternative options for a way forward. Legislation has been submitted for consideration and possible enactment by the General Conference when it meets again in May of 2020.

Click here for information and responses from Greater Northwest leadership to the 2019 Special Session of General Conference.

A list of proposed plans on the future of The United Methodist Church

The following list is not exhaustive but includes those plans that have been distributed publicly. Other plans have been submitted and will be available for consideration by General Conference delegates when it has been translated into the four official languages.

  • Oppose Dissolution/Preserve Unity Plan: Plan | UMNS Report – Oct. 2, 2019

A list of post-AC2019 statements and blogs by United Methodist boards, agencies, and caucus groups

*Links from caucus groups are for information, not endorsement.

Key United Methodist News Service articles

You can find more articles about General Conference on the UMNS website.

Religion News Service articles

What is happening in the Greater Northwest Area?

In anticipation of the 2019 Special Session of General Conference, Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky invited United Methodists in the Alaska, Oregon-Idaho, and Pacific Northwest Conferences to join her in an area-wide book study for what she coined a CrossOver year. That study continues until December 2019.

Each annual conference hosted and encouraged local churches to participate in Table Talk conversations to engage the church’s current discussion of human sexuality and the decisions made at the 2019 General Conference Session. Additionally, as conferences met in May and June for their 2019 Annual Conference Sessions they passed legislation for local action and General Conference Consideration.

Most recently, Bishop Stanovsky has formed a Guiding Coalition to help in shaping and leading a new movement of Methodism in the Northwest that fully includes LGBTQIA+ persons in membership, participation, and leadership. Workgroups of laity and clergy will examine areas where the conferences can shape or define a way forward.

What is happening in the Western Jurisdiction?

What will the future of The United Methodist Church look like in the coming years? Who is shaping that vision, and what are the most important values?

From Nov. 14 to 16, 2019, the Western Jurisdiction (WJ) Mission Cabinet is hosting a Fresh United Methodism Summit consisting of the WJ Leadership Team, WJ Workgroup Leaders, 2020 General Conference delegates from the WJ, and other emerging leaders. Go to the Western Jurisdiction website to find details about the groups selected to participate and for details about the live stream.

The Western Jurisdiction has committed itself to being a Home for All God's People.

“Grounded in our Wesleyan heritage, we will foster a new movement to gather the energy of inclusive United Methodists throughout our global connection.”

Resources to Learn More

Leadership Institute 2019 Resources

Resources and video recordings of the plenary sessions featured during Leadership Institute 2019 at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection are available to download (Free Registration Required).

General Conference - ResourceUMC

Videos in English, Spanish and Korean, and a primer explaining General Conference are a small part of the General Conference 2020 website. You’ll also find the latest news about the May 2020 session and a wealth of other information that is constantly updated and expanded.

Upcoming key events and deadlines:

  • Judicial Council Fall Session – Oct. 29-Nov. 1, 2019
    The Judicial Council will consider a number of items pertaining to the actions of the 2019 General Conference including the effect of portions of the Traditional Plan, the constitutionality of disaffiliation legislation, and actions of various annual conferences after GC2019.
  • Wesleyan Covenant Association Global Gathering 2019 – Nov. 9, 2019
    The WCA, an advocacy group connecting orthodox churches, clergy, and laity, will be holding its first global gathering since General Conference 2019 at Asbury UMC in Tulsa, OK (and by simulcast).
  • Western Jurisdiction Fresh United Methodism Summit – Nov. 15-17, 2019
    The Western Jurisdiction (WJ) Mission Cabinet is hosting a Fresh United Methodism Summit consisting of the WJ Leadership Team, WJ Workgroup Leaders, 2020 General Conference delegates from the WJ, and other emerging leaders. They will consider areas of possible alignment as they seek to offer a "home for all of God's People." 
  • Traditional Plan goes into effect – Jan. 1, 2020
    The portions of the Tradition Plan that were ruled constitutional by the Judicial Council last April will go into effect, including stronger prohibitions and punishments targetting LGBTQ+ United Methodists and their allies.
  • Pre-General Conference Briefing – Jan. 23-24, 2020
    This briefing aims to help delegates, communicators, agency and annual conference staff and other interested parties prepare for the denomination's legislative body which will meet in May of 2020.
  • Judicial Council Spring Session – April 29-May 2, 2020
    • Deadline for submission of docket items is Dec. 31, 2019
  • General Conference 2020 – May 5-20, 2020
    General Conference is the highest legislative body in The United Methodist Church. The voting membership consists of an equal number of clergy and lay delegates elected by the annual conferences. It is the only body that can speak officially for the denomination.

Special thanks to Charmaine Robledo, Director of Communications for the Mountain Sky Conference, for her collaboration on this project.

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