1. Why is this important?
Because at present our conference has no annual conference sanctioned forum in which leaders of the various agencies of our conference can deliberate, discern God’s will and develop for the annual conference thoughtful, broadly considered recommendations for strategic actions. Such recommendations will better equip us for accomplishing the mission of the church. TOP
2. Couldn't the bishop just call these people together?
The bishop could call any collection of persons for a meeting, but it would not be established and anticipated by the annual conference as a whole. As a practical matter, some would not be aware of it and/or would feel excluded. With the Conference Table, the intent is to give wide general notice of sessions and anticipated agenda .TOP
3. What is the cost and who will pay for it?
The cost will be for that of holding the event. Those costs will be modest. Events will generally be held in local churches or conference facilities and not involve overnight stays. Each group sending a representative will pay the cost of that person’s travel from their existing budget. For persons named by the bishop and lay leader and not representing a budgeted agency, their expenses will be paid from the existing Conference Council on Ministries budget. There will be no apportionment increase. TOP
4. If the Conference Table does not have the authority to direct actions, what good is it?
The fact that it does NOT have such authority is the source of its power. It will be better able to come to thoughtful consensus for recommendations to annual conference that have been broadly considered after reflection and research. The very conversations which occur under the leadership of our bishop and lay leader will inform and assist other conference leaders by information exchange and dialogue. TOP
5. How will we be assured of a proper lay/clergy balance?
The bishop and lay leader are committed to accomplishing balance, and optional appointments under their authority of persons expected to attend will support that goal. TOP
6. How will we be assured that "all voices are at the table?"
The bishop and lay leader are committed to a diversity of people related to gender, race and ethnic groups. Remember that the Table is the entire body assembled at any one time. Some are expected but ALL ARE WELCOME to come and participate. TOP
7. Will votes be taken and if so, who gets to vote?
It is highly unlikely that any votes will be taken, since the Table is to operate on the consensus model of decision-making. However, when there are differences among those present, such will be noted, and the annual conference will be informed of both majority and minority positions. TOP
8. How will I know when gatherings are scheduled? A. Notices will be included in the "Florida United Methodist Review", conference Web site and calendar. For specific notice, send your name and address (USPS or E-Mail) to Transformation2002@www.flumc.org or the conference office, Attn. Bill Walker, P.O. Box 3767, Lakeland, FL 33802-3767 requesting such. TOP
The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
450 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33815
(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011