United Methodist leaders gather in Portland to prepare for General Conference 2016

Kay Panovec of United Methodist Communications welcomes participants to the 2016 Pre-General Conference Briefing in Portland, OR

Kay Panovec of United Methodist Communications welcomes participants to the 2016 Pre-General Conference Briefing in Portland, OR

PORTLAND, OR — General Conference delegation chairs, annual conference communicators, and directors of connectional ministries have gathered today at the Oregon Convention Center to receive information and build relationships in preparation for May’s United Methodist General Conference. The Pre-General Conference briefing, sponsored by United Methodist Communications, brings church leaders together every 4 years to hear from United Methodist agencies and advocacy groups about plans for the May meeting.

Bishop Grant Hagiya of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area welcomed the participants to Portland, and challenged participants to share in his vision of a conference which transcends differences and seriously addresses the missional challenges the United Methodist Church faces today.

“What if we had a General Conference in which argument and advocacy were set aside and we pulled together to work on life transforming initiatives,” Hagiya said. “What if the mission became so compelling that our differences disappeared and we worked on the transformation of the world?”

The Rev. Dr. Stephen Lewis, pastor of the Gresham United Methodist Church in the Oregon/Idaho Annual Conference invited participants to remember just who they were as United Methodists during the opening worship session. “We are United Methodists — we have changed the world!” Lewis said.

Lewis reminded all that how the General Conference conducts its work is as important as the outcomes. “In the age of Twitter,” Lewis said, “few will read what we write, but millions will watch what we do.”

Later today participants will be hearing from The Connectional Table about their plans for General Conference, proposals about the future of the UMC as a global church (including the proposal for a U.S. Central Conference), proposed legislation related to clergy and bishops, a presentation by GCFA on the budget, and an overview of what to expect at General Conference. One special area of interest are proposed rule changes to facilitate conversation around areas of difference.

A number of persons are tweeting from this event at #umcgc.

Jay Voorhees, Former Executive Editor

The Rev. Jay Voorhees is the Executive Editor of The United Methodist Reporter and the Chief Creative Officer for CircuitWriter Media LLC which operates this site and MethoBlog.com. Jay is an ordained elder in the Tennessee Annual Conference. Jay has written on life and the practice of faith in The United Methodist Church at Only Wonder Understands since 2003.

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4 Comments on "United Methodist leaders gather in Portland to prepare for General Conference 2016"

The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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David Goudie
I find it interesting that God or Jesus or Holy Spirit are not mentioned at all in this article or statements. And that when our mission is referenced only ‘transforming the world’ is mentioned’ and no mention of making disciples of Jesus Christ. So in response to the ‘what if’ stated by the Bishop …’what if instead we humbled ourselves and prayed and sought the Lord and turned from our wicked ways’ …what if we took the great commission seriously and ‘went into all the world and made disciples of Jesus Christ’. I gather though from the statement ‘we are… Read more »
Richard Hicks

A conference to prepare for a conference. George Orwell was right! Thank you, Richard F Hicks, OKC


What if we just spakle over the fissures and pretend that the giant cracks do not exist? That might work for a while until the entire structure collapses.

Dave Hurst
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. (Isaiah 58:4) For this Lent, I’m giving up the Great Debate. For 40 days, I will not read any blog posts, newsletters, e-blasts, mailings or articles pertaining to General Conference or any of the issues currently facing the United Methodist Church. Rather than focus upon the sinfulness of others, I will examine and repent of my own sinful behavior. Instead of judging others, I will judge myself. Through such… Read more »
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