[This page was updated on May 21, July 20, August 24, 2020, and again on March 25, 2021, as new details became available.]
Pretty much everything is “on hold” right now, but I’m pretty sure “We’ll be right back” is not what we’re going to hear. The next step(s) of dealing with the division within the United Methodist Church are “on hold” as well. It’s been a wild ride, and things change daily. Some details:
Our quadrennial (big word meaning ‘every 4 years’) General Conference was to have been held May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis. That was rescheduled for late August, 2021. Nope, canceled again. The current schedule is to hold the twice-postponed General Conference Aug. 29-Sept. 6, 2022, in Minneapolis Here’s the full story.
Meanwhile, our Council of Bishops decided to schedule a special one-day General Conference on May 8, 2021, in order to deal with 12 critical issues. This was to have been an online event with mail-in ballots. Now they have decided to cancel that. Here’s the story on that cancelation. Our United Methodist Book of Discipline has detailed rules on how we will meet; currently we have about 650 delegates who come from locations around the world, and the Book of Discipline requires that General Conference meet in person. As the Covid pandemic continues, there is no way to hold such a gathering.
Our 2021 Eastern PA Annual Conference will be held from May 21-22, 2021, as an online event. There will be modified voting rules, because the online format makes discussion and debate almost impossible.
Jurisdictional Conferences were to have been held July 13-17, 2020. Not happening. Here’s the current schedule, from United Methodist News:
Special Sessions of the Jurisdictional Conferences will be held virtually in July 2021 (for the purpose of retiring bishops, announcing coverage of areas, and determining if or how many bishops will be elected in each Jurisdiction) and regular in-person Sessions of the Jurisdictional Conferences following the postponed 2020 General Conference in the Fall of 2022 (for the purpose of electing bishops, making assignments for the new quadrennium, electing members to General Boards/Agencies, etc.). Note: Bishop Peggy Johnson is one of those retirees, and she plans to retire effective Sept. 1, 2021.
Under this timeline, General Boards & Agencies would maintain their current memberships until after the postponed General Conference in 2022.
People involved are largely being quiet during this time of dealing with COVID-19, although major players do continue to jockey for position and line up support. It promises to be interesting, to say the least.
So let’s add our United Methodist Church to our prayer lists, shall we?
Blessings, and be safe!