February 11, 2019
Rev. William C. Bills
A special session of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church will be held February 23-26, in St. Louis Missouri. The purpose of the Conference is to act on the report of the Commission on the Way Forward. The Commission on The Way Forward was established after the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon, where debate on matters pertaining to same sex marriage, the ordination of LGBTQI persons, and other related matters simply broke down. Members of the General Conference asked the Council of Bishops for a statement of unity but the Bishops could not agree on such a statement. Therefore, the Commission on the Way Forward was formed.
The Commission is offering three plans for moving forward as a world-wide denomination. These are The One Church Plan, The Connectional Conference Plan and The Traditional Plan. Each of these three plans would require significant restructuring of our global denomination. Each would leave some form of discrimination in place, to varying degrees. More information on these three plans can be found here http://www.umc.org/topics/general-conference-2019-special-session.
A fourth plan has recently been introduced. It is called The Simple Plan. The Simple Plan would just eliminate all the negative language about homosexuality from The United Methodist Book of Discipline and the Social Principles. This would require no restructuring of the denomination. It would simply eliminate negative language from our official documents. I think The Simple Plan makes good sense. I hope that it will be allowed to come before the General Conference for debate and a vote. For more information on The Simple Plan, see the following links: