An Update for the events of Feb. 26 at General Conference from Rev. Bob Cooper, a Virginia Conference Reserve Delegate to the Conference and the Virginia Wesleyan Covenant Association President
The final night in St. Louis,
Today was a very difficult day. There was a great deal of pain and anxiety that was felt by everyone. Some difficult choices were before the General Conference.
So, what happened?
The One Church Plan was presented as the minority report before the General Conference. There was a motion made to substitute the Traditional Plan legislation with the One Church Plan legislation. The General Conference did not approve the motion 54.56%-45.44%.
The General Conference then took up legislation regarding the Traditional Plan. After much passionate debate, the General Conference approved the Traditional Plan 53.28%-46.72%.
What this means is that the current language in our Book of Discipline regarding human sexuality is unchanged. It also means there will be some stronger measures to hold bishops and denominational leaders accountable who refuse to follow the Book of Discipline.
In the last few minutes of General Conference, a plan for disaffiliation was approved. This means a “gracious exit” would be provided for churches and/or clergy who desire to leave the The United Methodist Church if they could not accept the outcome of General Conference.
It also important to know that several pieces of the Traditional Plan legislation and the plan for disaffiliation were deemed unconstitutional prior to the General Conference vote. Measures were taken to perfect these two pieces of legislation, but they will be reviewed by the Judicial Council.
As you can imagine, there were mixed reactions to the days events. There were multiple protests but I also witnessed many acts of kindness and compassion.
It was a day when that my heart was heavy. It was very difficult to see so many in pain. The brokenness of our church was apparent.
This Sunday I’ll be speaking more about General Conference.
Please continue to be in prayer for our church.