GC 2016 creates new focus on global health and works on translation issues

Faced with glitches in the electronic voting system, delegates use colored cards to vote on May 16 at the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, OR.

Portland, OR (May 16, 2016) — The 2016 General Conference passed several items in their final session of business today, including creating a new program focus on global health for the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM).

Charles Boayue, chair of the Global Ministries legislative committee brought forth a proposal unanimously adopted by the committee to add the global health focus to the work of GBGM. The new language in the Book of Discipline says that GBGM will be involved in:

a) Engaging in, supporting, facilitating, advocating, and partnering with others (including UM organizations and ecumenical, interfaith, and secular organizations, as appropriate) to provide global and local health ministries that, in the spirit of Jesus Christ, foster abundant health for all, including holistic physical, mental and spiritual well-being, regardless of religion, nationality, culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability.

b) Combating preventable diseases of poverty and supporting comprehensive community-based health care.

c) Convening, mobilizing, resourcing, and equipping United Methodists to engage in, support, and advocate holistic health ministries, locally and globally.

d) Encouraging awareness of the gifts, graces, assets, and needs of persons with special physical, mental, and other developmental needs, fostering a culture of inclusivity within The United Methodist Church as a place where people with special needs will be embraced in all aspects of worship, leadership, and ministry.

e) Encouraging and supporting congregations to respond effectively and compassionately to those affected by substance abuse and related violence.

As is true with all provisions that involve financial implication, The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) will need to review the legislation for budget implications before final approval.

In several separate actions, issues of the translation of The United Methodist Book of Discipline and The Daily Christian Advocate (the daily journal of the General Conference) came before the conference.

The issue came before the conference through action on petition #60591. Jessica Vargo, chair of the Finance and Administration legislative committee brought forth the recommendation of the committee to refer a request to translate the 2016 Book of Discipline into the languages of the attending delegates to GCFA and The United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH). While the motion to refer was adopted with no debate by an overwhelming majority, the discussion was prolonged when questions arose about the cost implications of the requested translation. A motion was made by Beth Ann Cook of the Indiana Annual Conference offered a motion asking GCFA and the Standing Committee on Central Conferences to bring back a cost estimate for this translation before the end of the General Conference. The motion passed 649/138.

Russell Abel from the Indiana Annual Conference then offered a motion directing the Commission on General Conference to make provisions to translate The Daily Christian Advocate into the multiple languages of the delegates to the 2020 General Conference, funding the proposal by drawing down up to 20% of the general agency budgets. After some debate, the conference moved to refer the matter to GCFA for a cost estimate.

In additional business, the 2016 General Conference:

  • Approved the draft of the next section of a new General Book of Discipline to be presented to the 2020 General Conference.
  • Added wording to ¶34 of the Book of Discipline overtly stating the delegates to the General Conference must be elected and not appointed by the bishop.
  • Passed an amendment to the constitution saying that gender justice is part of what it means to be United Methodist.
  • Directed GCFA to prepare a list of approved crowdfunding sites to used by United Methodist congregations.
  • Passed an amended version of petition #605550 about United Methodist support of the persecuted church.

The General Conference will continue their work tomorrow following worship at 8 a.m.

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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Richard F HicksJay Voorhees, Former Executive EditorKevin Carnahan Recent comment authors
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Kevin Carnahan

Can anybody say more about the “gender justice” amendment? It seems like that would be a big deal, but I haven’t heard about it.

Richard F Hicks
Richard F Hicks

Translation issues don’t occur where post-colonial national church bodies aren’t dependent upon the hegemon. As to health issues – “Show me the money!!!” Are all salaries, etc going to be cut by half in order to fund “health issues?” It’s like Jesus said, “Show me the coin.” Thank you, Richard F Hicks, OKC

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