Sunday, February 24, 2008

General Conference; What *should* we talk about?

We've spent time around the methoblogosphere in the last couple of weeks talking about General Conference. I think many of us agree that even though we don't agree on issues around human sexuality, that we'll be sorry to see a once-in-four-years gathering of the UMC focus so much time and energy exclusively on those issues.

I received my Advance Daily Christian Advocates in the mail last week - there are hundreds and hundreds of petitions. Though certainly many surround these controversial issues, the bulk of them address the whole wide scope of church life - finances, global ministries, poverty, fighting AIDs, discipleship, ministries with young people, the candidacy process and elders orders, the episcopacy, etc.

So, what is important? What are the issues you most want to see us address at General Conference?

I'm particularly interested in:
1) The "global nature of the church" and proposals that decentralize the role of the United States in the denomination
2) Legislation concerning young people and the role of young people in the church
3) Legislation relating to the different orders of ministry and the appointment/itineracy system.

Of course, I'm also critically interested in talking about the role of the church in society, and why our denomination fails to be making disciples (in many different senses of the word), but that's hard to address in legislation, isn't it? Perhaps that's a key problem right there! As we shorten the length of General Conference by two days, I wish we could lengthen it by a week(!), so that we could not only do the legislative work that must be done, but also spend more time in conversation, more time in reflection, more time in discernment. The frenzied proposed schedule really worries me, and I fear for the integrity of our process together...

What's important to you at this General Conference?
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