The purpose of a Just Resolution to a complaint and the purpose of the Annual Conference session
May 28, 2019
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Over the next two weeks, two activities related to our annual conference will occur: a meeting to seek a just resolution to a complaint and the annual conference session.
I wanted to briefly describe the purpose of each.
The purpose of the Just Resolution process is for two persons to meet together for conversation, in order to resolve differences and to address harm. This is a conversation. This is not a trial that results in a verdict.
The Just Resolution process takes inspiration from scripture (Matthew 18: 15-16). The Message translation reads: “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you,” before taking a complaint to the whole community.
That is why the names of persons involved are private, in order to protect the dignity and the sacred worth of each person. Our society and our church are wrestling with the complexity of human sexuality in relation to the unity of the church and the inclusion of all people. While we cannot comment on private discussions, we are grateful that all sides have agreed to pause and to pray, reflect and listen together in order to move forward as members of the Body of Christ.
Our annual conference has approximately 1100 clergy. In a given year we hold 5-7 just resolutions. A just resolution may result in a written agreement or continue over a longer period with time given to mediation and further accountability among peers within the annual conference.
The role of the Bishop in a Just Resolution is to protect the rights of the complainant and respondent and to assure a fair process.
The purpose of the Annual Conference is to bring together the local churches and connectional ministries across Florida in fellowship, worship, and planning. Our theme this year is “On Mission Together."
In the annual conference we license, commission and ordain clergy, adopt the connectional budget, learn more about our shared ministries, honor those clergy who are retiring from ministry and remember clergy and spouses who have died this year.
An annual conference differs from a general conference in that it is fundamentally not about the polity of the denomination. This year, we will elect delegates to the next general conference. And there will be limited time for discussion of resolutions. But the primary agenda is to develop a stronger connection with God, through Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, and to learn more about our shared mission so that we can return to our local churches and communities to tell this story and to bless those in need of the hope of the gospel.
The role of the Bishop at Annual Conference is to preside in a way that allows the body to best do its work.
Thank you for your participation in the ministries of the United Methodist Church!
Bishop Ken Carter
The United Methodist Church
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