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“Be still and know that I am God!  I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.”  –Psalm 46:10

“Be still and know that I am God!  I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.”  –Psalm 46:10

The postponed 2020 General Conference will meet in Charlotte, NC, April 23-May 3.  This year’s General Conference carries high expectations of significant changes for our denomination and our inclusion of all God’s people.

Many of the 1,100 petitions submitted to General Conference have to do with three priorities that include Global Regionalization, passage of the Revised Social Principles and removal of harmful language and policies toward LGBTQ persons in the Book of Discipline.

Last week, I offered some information about Global Regionalization.  Today, I will give some information on the effort to revise the Social Principles that guide us in The United Methodist Church.  The United Methodist Social Principles are General Conference-approved social teachings.  In 2012, the General Conference authorized an effort to make the Social Principles more succinct, theologically grounded and globally relevant.

The revised version of the Social Principles that will come before General Conference delegates for a vote is the result of an eight-year process that included input from more than 4,000 United Methodists around the world.  The revised Social Principles reflect the United Methodist response to today’s most pressing social issues.  Passing the revised Social Principles requires a majority vote of the General Conference.

The revised Social Principles are divided into four categories including Community of All Creation, The Economic Community, The Social Community and The Political Community.

To offer some history, it was in 1972, four years after the 1968 uniting of The Methodist Church and The Evangelical United Brethren Church, that the General Conference adopted a statement of Social Principles.  Revisions to the Social Principles have been by each General Conference since 1976.

The Social Principles are not church law.  Instead, they represent the prayerful efforts of the General Conference to speak to issues in the contemporary world from a sound biblical and theological foundation that is in keeping with the best of our United Methodist traditions.  The Social Principles are a call to faithfulness and to social engagement.  They are intended to be instructive and guiding and they challenge us to engage in intentional reflection between faith and practice.

One of the things I appreciate about the Social Principles is that it says the church has not been silent on social issues, but has made statements about the most pressing issues of our time.  I might not agree with all the statements made in the Social Principles, but they offer the opportunity for reflection and give space to think and have faithful conversations.

If you would like to see a copy of the current Social Principles that were revised at the 2016 General Conference, we have copies of the book in the church office.