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General Conference 2016 summary

General Conference 2016 summary

General Conference General Conference 2016

General Conference wrapped up on Friday, May 20, and below are highlights of some accomplishments, followed by a summary provided by the United Methodist News Service.

  • The UMC has raised $78 million dollars for Imagine No Malaria 
  • General Conference commissioned 29 missionaries and celebrated our ecumenical relationships with our worldwide Methodist brothers and sisters.
  • The delegates supported the Global AIDS Fund, celebrated the 30th anniversary of Disciple Bible Study, the 60th anniversary of the ordination of women, celebrated vital congregations, heard the African University choir, celebrated the 150th anniversary of UMW, and more. 

Delegates approved petitions that:

  • Enable us to move forward on the creation of a General Book of Discipline and an updated version of our Social Principles;
  • Elected new members to the Judicial Council, University Senate and other general boards and agencies;
  • Approved a new hymnal including cloud base technology which will allow new flexibility for contextual music;
  • Continues to expand and support the growth of our church in Africa;
  • Approved many of the items in the Study of Ministry report that clarifies and deepens our theology of ordination, extends the role of deacons, expands the educational possibilities for local church pastors, and more.

On the issue of human sexuality

  • Delegates supported a plan from the Council of Bishops that defers action on all existing petitions regarding human sexuality and creates a special commission to examine the issues and form a recommendation on how to move forward. The Council of Bishops may convene a special General Conference session prior to GC 2020 to review the commission’s recommendations.
  • The current language of the Book of Discipline remains the same and the Bishops reminded and invited delegates to uphold the discipline.
  • The Bishops invited delegates to seek God's will for the future and to strengthen the unity of the church.

Recap from the United Methodist News Service

Scenes from the final day of GC 2016
PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — A final protest over full inclusion, debates and voting on the general church budget and a sermon about unity make up some of the images of the last day of General Conference.
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GC2016 passes $604 million general church budget
PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — General Conference delegates voted to increase the general church budget to $604 million to boost support of United Methodist theological education in Africa, Asia and Europe. Getting to the final bottom line took time – and some laughter. Heather Hahn reports.

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Delegates choose engagement over divestment
PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — After prolonged, impassioned debate, General Conference 2016 chose not to add a fossil fuels investment screen for the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits. The question came down to divestment vs. engagement as the better way to influence companies to address climate change. Sam Hodges reports.
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Stanovsky: ‘We will not leave divided’
PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — On the last day of the 2016 General Conference, Bishop Elaine Stanovsky reminded those attending, “We will not leave divided because God is not finished with us yet!” She concluded that the real work is done once the 10-day event has finished. Charmaine Robledo, Mountain Sky Area director of communications, has the report.
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LGBTQ people gather for final demonstration
PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — A large group of LGBTQ people circled the floor of the 2016 General Conference May 20, singing, “I am not forgotten, you are not forgotten; God knows your name.” Participants said the respectful demonstration was the final chance for LGBTQ people to surround and support each other before everyone leaves General Conference and returns to their local churches. Kathy Gilbert reports.
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Court rules no conflict on question of authority
PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — In response to a request for review from General Conference 2016, the United Methodist Judicial Council has found no conflict between two of its previous decisions or between specific paragraphs in the church’s constitution. Linda Bloom has the story.
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Bid to divest from illegal settlements fails
PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — An amendment offered on May 20 during a General Conference debate on socially responsible investing that sought to divest from illegal settlements on occupied lands failed 559-167. But delegates adopted a petition on behalf of a Palestinian village, Wadi Foquin. Erik Alsgaard reports.
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May 20 wrap-up: Budget passes, with increase
PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Goodnight, Portland! On the last day of General Conference 2016, voting clocks shrank from 30 seconds to 10 and more than one presiding bishop urged delegates to speak less and vote more. Delegates rolled up their sleeves and plunged into a daunting collection of remaining petitions before the closing gavel fell. They did pass a $604 million general church budget for the next four years. Joey Butler reports.
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Audio stories from GC 2016
PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Daily podcasts from General Conference 2016 include the experiences of a Hispanic pastor and seminary student, reflections of the host committee and Mountain Sky Area Bishop Elaine Stanovsky's closing day sermon.
Listen to the podcasts

Final video wrap-up from GC 2016
PORTLAND, Ore. ( — Skyler Nimmons of the Indiana Conference joins Greg Nelson of the Oregon-Idaho Conference, which hosted General Conference 2016, for a look at highlights from the last day at the convention center. Learn more about the behind-the-scenes aspects of having 3,000 United Methodist friends drop by for two weeks.
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Spirit-filled moments at GC2016
PORTLAND, Ore. ( — Worship, prayer, and celebrations surround the work of the General Conference, and lift up God’s work through the people of The United Methodist Church. Read about some of the big and small moments that have celebrated the presence of the Holy Spirit among us. Joe Iovino has the story.
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Blog: Overcoming the brink of schism
PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — With the enormous issues and overwhelming debate on each that confronts The United Methodist Church today, General Conference 2016 has managed to do some holy conferencing, says Gladys Mangiduyos in her blog.
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Blog: Serving as a GC2016 page
PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Pages at General Conference 2016 run notes, deliver coffee and much more. At times, the work becomes surreal. South Carolina Advocate editor Jessica Brodie blogs about the experience and perspective of the Rev. Elizabeth Murray, first-time page.
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Feature photo: Cayla Carr from Central Methodist University sings while the Christ United Methodist Church Deaf Choir signs at the May 20 at the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS


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