Yesterday’s afternoon legislative session was tedious at best. If you remember from my first blog, it was the body that selected the order in which the pieces of legislation would be voted on. The traditional plan passed. Both dissolution plans passed, with some modification. Then after lunch we began working on the One Church plan. There were several amendments offered to the OCP, some passed, some did not. However, the over-all One Church Plan did not prevail
After the OCP failed, there was a motion made to strike all the other legislation that was before the body. That motion was debated for a while before a brilliant young woman stood and asked that the Simple Plan be stricken from the list of petitions that they were trying to vote down. After some intensive discussion, the Simple Plan was removed from the list of legislative items that were being scratched.
The Simple Plan was then able to be debated. For me, this was where the emotionally grueling part to the day took its toll. The majority of individuals who spoke against the Simple Plan and the desired inclusiveness it brings were often persons from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa; Mexico, Liberia; Zimbabwe, Russia, and the Philippines. Some spoke in unkind terms.
As we look to the events of Tuesday, it seems one of the first reports will be the constitutionality of the traditional plan. Prior to GC2019 multiple facets of the traditional plan were determined unconstitutional. Amendments were made to it yesterday, but it seems they were not enough in order for it to pass constitutionality. The Simple Plan should come before the plenary body today – and the One Church Plan could be lifted through a minority report.
Do not lose heart. Yesterday, our delegation leader Dr. Tim Bruster of First UMC, Fort Worth reminded us of a Leslie Newbigin quote, “The church is not defined by its boundaries – but by its center, which is God.”
Gracious and merciful God, We trust this day that you are abounding in steadfast love. The hearts of many United Methodist children have cried out to you during this night. Some of us feel rejected. Others victorious, while others may want to run and hide. We do not know what this day holds and we trust that you are holding us. We pray that our actions, our words, and our thoughts are pleasing to you. We pray that we can find the courage to be a people of grace. Come Lord Jesus, Come!