Yesterday was a day of Methodism at its best. We prayed, sang, worshipped God, and even fasted. It was a holy day and I am blessed for having been here. Today, as the people of St. Barnabas began to open the building and drive to the church for worship, we were here in the convention center preparing for the day. We began in worship then entered into the work of GC2019.
In order to explain how the votes will “roll out” I need to share how it is the petitions are in the order they are in. Some of you will remember that I have repeatedly said, “… it depends on how the legislation rolls out.” One of the first votes taken of this day was on a Prioritization Process. The process in itself is different than that for a typical GC. Why? Because in a normal GC, a small group would make the decision on the order of presentation of legislation. The first vote was for the body to decide that the prioritization of how the legislation rolled out was up to the entire body of some 800-plus voters. This process was overwhelmingly approved.
After that decision, each group of petitions was voted on by the body, with each delegate voting a 1 for the “high priority” of the petition, or a 2 for the “low priority” of the petition. As a result of that vote, as best I understand it, the work of GC2019 will be to make a decision on Wespath – the pension plan of the UMC, followed by The Traditional Plan, 2 petitions on Disaffiliation, then the One Church Plan, followed by another petition on Disaffiliation. Each of these items received more than 48% of the body.
What does that mean? THAT response is open for interpretation. Essentially, it means these are the first items for the work of GC2019. There are some 18 other groups of petitions to follow.
Why does it matter? We are limited on time. There is a high probability that all the petitions that are before the GC will not be addressed, simply due to time. Therefore the prioritization of petitions is very important.
I have already received messages from folks at SBUMC who think that LGBTQI demonstrations have brought down the house – not so. There have been demonstrations and there are also people preaching on street corners telling everyone who passes they are going to hell. These are both a part of these proceedings that I have observed previously. They are nothing new.
Brothers and sisters, again, please be steadfast in prayer. In the words of a prayer that has just been offered, Merciful God, “Help us discern what it means to be faithful in this season. . . . Keep watch at the door of our hearts.”