From: Bishop Carter and the Cabinet
Subject: Important Preparation for Decisions at Annual Conference
Dear Clergy and Lay Delegates to Annual Conference:
We write this letter to encourage you to attend one of the important Pre-Conference District Gatherings that will be happening in each District during the month of May. Click here for a list of the date and time of your District Gathering and note that some Districts have their gatherings as early as this Sunday, May 7.
The agenda for these gatherings will be to review the following major items that will be voted upon at Annual Conference. This will be an important chance to ask questions and get clarity. Due to the number of important items we must consider this year, we will not have adequate time at Annual Conference for individual questions from each delegate. It will be important that you read about each item prior to your District Gathering by reviewing the on-line version of the Annual Conference Workbook found here.
Topics for Pre-Conference District Gatherings:
- Review the Constitutional Amendments beginning on page 223 of the Workbook. There were five proposed Constitutional Amendments approved by the 2016 General Conference. In order for them to become part of The United Methodist Church’s Constitution, they need the approval of at least a two-thirds majority of the total voters at annual conferences around the world. We cannot amend or edit these Amendments, but according to our Standing Rules, there will be a chance to have speeches for and against each Amendment as desired by members of the Annual Conference. A written ballot vote is scheduled for Thursday, June 8, in the afternoon. Click here for a helpful synopsis of the Amendments from the United Methodist News Service.
- Review the Annual Conference Resolutions beginning on page 206 of the Workbook. There are eight resolutions ranging in topics from immigration to human dignity to mass incarceration. The Annual Conference Planning Committee has placed additional time on the schedule for Resolutions to be considered including Friday afternoon/evening and Saturday morning.
- Review the Proposed 2018 Budget beginning on page 153 of the Workbook and note the reductions being proposed in the overall Annual Conference budget. An explanation of the impact of the proposed reductions will be provided at the District Gatherings.
- Review the District Motion and Proposal to reduce by one district found on page 35 of the Workbook. For more information on this change click here. This vote will take place during Thursday afternoon’s plenary session.
- Review the report from the Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits (CBPHB) beginning on page 149 of the Workbook. You will note the CBPHB is recommending to continue with the current model of health supplements approved at the 2016 Annual Conference. Additionally, they are requesting additional time to study this further so they might explore multiple possible options to present to the 2018 Annual Conference. The proposed Standing Rule changes beginning on page 75 authorizes the CBPHB to recommend changes to the plan and to the amount of the supplement as needed between Annual Conference sessions.
- Review the Annual Conference schedule and highlight key events, including the Pre-Conference Workshops at St. Luke’s UMC and an exciting event on Wednesday, June 7, at 6:30 p.m. with Dr. Tammy Pawlowski, a leading expert on children in poverty and school/community partnerships, entitled Children at Risk: A Mission of Bridge Building.
Finally, the pre-Conference District Gatherings are an opportunity for you to review the proposed new district lines and ask questions of your current District Superintendent around the proposed changes. Your input and questions will be shared with the Bishop and Cabinet, who will present the final lines after the vote of the Annual Conference to reduce districts is complete. Click here for a proposed map and click here for a highlighted listing of all churches who, according to the current proposal, will change districts. Should you have any questions about these lines prior to your District Gathering, please contact your District Office.
We look forward to seeing you at your District Gathering and in June at Annual Conference.
Click here for the AC 2017 webpage.