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.
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
*Links from caucus groups are for information, not endorsement.
Breaking up would be hard to do – Oct. 1, 2019
Diverse leaders’ group offers separation plan – Jan. 3, 2020
You can find more articles about General Conference on the UMNS website.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Special thanks to Charmaine Robledo, Director of Communications for the Mountain Sky Conference, for her collaboration on this project.