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.

Advance Daily Christian Advocate

The Advance Daily Christian Advocate (ADCA) contains the agenda, rules, delegate listings, petitions, reports from the general agencies/commissions and study committees, information for delegates, and codes of conduct for the General Conference. 

The official written languages of the General Conference for publication of the Advance edition include English, French, Kiswahili and Portuguese. Bound printed volumes of the ADCA may be purchased from Cokesbury. These PDF versions are provided for your convenience.

View and download (PDF):


Also available in French, Kiswahili, and Portuguese here.

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.

UMNEWS has has produced a chart comparing the most popular plans: DOWNLOAD/VIEW

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

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.

Earlier this Fall, 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?

The five active bishops in the Western Jurisdiction announced that they are offering Safe Harbor to LGBTQ+ clergy and urged bishops and other United Methodists to join them during the Council of Bishop’s Fall 2019 meeting at Lake Junaluska, N.C.

Read the Declaration of Safe Harbor | Sign to Support

Press Release | UMNS Report

More than 200 laypersons, clergy, and bishops gathered near Los Angeles, CA, on Nov. 14-16 for the Western Jurisdiction’s Fresh United Methodism Summit to help prepare for the coming year. While there, they affirmed a Theological Declaration and formed a 10-person visioning team to plan for a fully inclusive church; five of the 10 are from the Greater NW Area.

Press Release | UMNS Report | Theological Statement

Resources to Learn More

#ResistHarm — Resources for United Methodist Faithful Resistance

A coalition of United Methodist groups has launched an effort called #ResistHarm to provide solidarity with LGBTQ church members and oppose the Traditional Plan, which will take effect in the U.S. on Jan. 1.

The website includes prayers, rallies and clergy support.

VIDEO: Faithful and Inclusive: The Bible, Sexuality, and The United Methodist Church

A six-session video resource from Rev. Rob Fuquay tackles the topic of human sexuality in Church today. This resource, which is available to loan from the Regional Media Center, explores how United Methodists can be fully inclusive AND faithful.

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.

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).

Upcoming key events and deadlines:

  • Judicial Council Fall Session – Oct. 29-Nov. 1, 2019
    UMNS Summary | Decisions 1380-1399
    The Judicial Council considered 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.
  • Council of Bishops Fall Meeting – Nov. 3-6, 2019
    UMNS Reports 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Safe Harbor Declaration
    The Council of Bishops met at Lake Junaluska Assembly in North Carolina to prepare for the 2020 General Conference, elect new officers, and ratify a constitutional amendment among other things. While there, the WJ College of Bishops offered their Safe Harbor Declaration.
  • 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. A moratorium on charges, suggested by a plan (the Protocol) from a diverse coalition of leaders, is being honored by most episcopal leaders.
  • Pre-General Conference Briefing – Jan. 23-24, 2020
    This briefing gathered delegates, communicators, agency and annual conference staff and other interested parties, allowing them to hear directly from supporters of various plans.
  • Judicial Council Spring Session – April 29-May 2, 2020
    • Deadline for submission of docket items is Dec. 31, 2019
  • General Conference 2020 – May 5-15, 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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