A Word from Pastor Jenny
“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27). “Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing”
(1 Thessalonians 5:11).
During the first week of March, the Commission on the General Conference made the decision to postpone the 2020 General Conference for a second time. Due to the pandemic, General Conference 2020 was postponed to August of this year. Now, due to the continued pandemic that has caused long wait times for visas, continued international travel restrictions and difficulties in Covid vaccine access in some parts of the world, the General Conference is postponed again.
The United Methodist Church is a world-wide denomination and so when the General Conference, the only decision-making body for the Church, meets, delegates come from around the world. The 2020 General Conference was to have been held in Minneapolis, MN and have 862 voting delegates, which included 55.9% from the U.S.; 32% from Africa; 6% from the Philippines; 4.6% from Europe and the remainder from concordat churches that have close ties to The United Methodist Church.
The General Conference has met every four years since 1792. The Conference will now wait until the next regularly scheduled meeting time in 2024.
I am on our Wisconsin Conference Delegation to the General Conference and have shared with you before that legislation coming before the 2020 General Conference had the potential to cause a split in the denomination based on issues of human sexuality, specifically the ordination of LGBTQ clergy and same-gender weddings. The postponement of the General Conference delays that decision or any decision to change the language in the Book of Discipline that restricts LGBTQ persons from participating in the full life of the Church.
A conservative faction of The United Methodist Church, known as the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA), who oppose same-gender marriage and the ordination of LGBTQ persons based on their interpretation of Scripture, has been planning to separate from the denomination with or without the consent of the General Conference. With the postponement of the General Conference, the WCA plans to move forward with their plan to separate and form what is being called the Global Methodist Church.
The launch date of the Global Methodist Church is scheduled for May 1. Architects of this new Church are encouraging conservative local churches and individuals to leave The United Methodist Church and be part of their new denomination.
Our Sun Prairie United Methodist Church went through an intentional and thoughtful process nine years ago to become a ‘Reconciling’ church. We have made an intentional statement of welcome that says: “Our welcome knows no boundaries. The people of the Sun Prairie United Methodist Church open our doors and our hearts to all God’s children. We celebrate the diversity of God’s creation. We answer Jesus’ call to ‘love your neighbor’ by embracing every person as a full participant in our church family, including people of all ages, nations, races, abilities, sexual orientations, and gender identities.”
SPUMC will remain part of The United Methodist Church and continue to work to make needed changes within our denomination while also continuing our witness to God’s love for all people as we worship together, grow in our faith, care for others and serve God in our communities and around our world.
The ministry of SPUMC and our denomination of The United Methodist Church makes a difference as hungry people are fed, homeless people are sheltered and cared for, and those whose lives are torn apart by natural disaster or war are helped over the long-term. This is true around the world, as well as in our own communities.
Our story makes a difference and I am blessed to be your pastor as we share ministry together!