May 29, 2018
You may have heard that our United Methodist Judicial Council met last week. Their purpose was to consider a request from the Council of Bishops for a declaratory decision on whether petitions inconsistent with the Bishops’ own report could be considered at the Special General Conference, set for Feb. 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis. (Click here
to read the Bishops’ proposal.)
The following is the summary of Decision 1360 of the Judicial Council:
“The purpose of the special session of the General Conference 2019 stated in the Bishops’ call is limited to receiving and acting upon a report from the Council of Bishops based on the recommendations of the Commission on a Way Forward. Petitions to the special session of the General Conference 2019 may be filed by any organization, clergy member and lay member of the United Methodist Church as long as the business proposed to be transacted in such petition is in harmony with the purpose stated in the call. It is the obligation of the General Conference to determine, in the first instance, through its committees, officers and presiders, acting in accordance with The Discipline and the rules and procedures of the General Conference, whether any such petition is “in harmony.” However, business not in harmony with the purpose as stated in the call is not permitted unless the General Conference by a two-thirds vote shall determine that other business may be transacted.” (You can read the entire decision here.)
Because individuals and organizations of The United Methodist Church in Iowa may want to submit petitions that are in harmony with the purpose of the called General Conference, we recognize that they may also want to submit them to be endorsed by the 2018 Iowa Annual Conference and then forwarded to the Secretary of the General Conference. The Iowa Annual Conference has no Rule of Order in effect that would guide us in handling and endorsing petitions to the 2019 General Conference. We do have a proposed Rule this year (Action Item #110) which will guide us for handling petitions for the 2020 General Conference.
Therefore, Rev. Jerry Oakland, Transitional Director of Connectional Ministries, will be proposing a temporary rule on Saturday morning, as we begin the 2018 Iowa Annual Conference session. Here is the proposed rule:
Persons or groups seeking Annual Conference endorsement of petitions to the 2019 General Conference must submit the petition in electronic form to the Conference Secretary by 1:30 p.m., Saturday, June 9, 2018. Petitions may only originate with or be sponsored by individuals who are members of, or groups who are related to, The United Methodist Church in Iowa. The Committee on Rules of Order will review the petitions for accuracy, duplication, and compliance with Disciplinary guidelines and assign them petition numbers with consideration to diverse perspectives: centrist, progressive, and traditional. If there is time remaining on the agenda, following the completion of all Action Items, petitions will be presented in numerical order for consideration. At least one petition from each of the three perspectives will be discussed as time permits. The petitions will be made available to Conference members by the Sunday evening legislative session.
A two-thirds majority of the Annual Conference session will be necessary to adopt this temporary rule. Petitions endorsed by the Annual Conference will be sent by the Conference Secretary to the General Conference Petitions Secretary.
Please note that this process identifies a way in which petitions can be received, reviewed, and discussed if there is time on our agenda. Any of these petitions can be submitted directly to the 2019 General Conference as well.
Thank you for your faithfulness and commitment to The United Methodist Church. May the way in which we dialogue together on this important topic be a powerful, hopeful witness that we can be united by love in the midst of many viewpoints. Together, let us continue to make a difference in Iowa and around the world!
Bishop Laurie Haller