General Conference adopts constitutional amendments

Henoc Mwenze, delegate from the South-West Katanga Conference, speaks during the afternoon session of calendar items and petitions at the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, OR.

Portland, OR — The 2016 General Conference adopted two amendments to the constitution of the church in the course of their business today. In both cases, the proposals were adopted by large margins.

Gender Justice (60659-IC-¶00-C-G) was amended as follows: 

This petition deals specifically with the equality of women with men, and includes this language: “The United Methodist Church recognizes it is contrary to Scripture and to logic to say that God is male or female, as maleness and femaleness are characteristics of  human bodies and cultures, not characteristics of the divine. ”

Read the original petition here, and compare it with the amendment.

This motion was Adopted, with 746 votes for and 56 votes against.

Elections (60568-CO-¶34-C-G)

The second amendment clarifies that delegates to the General Conference must be elected and not appointed by the bishop:

Amend ¶ 34. Article III as follows:

¶ 34. Article III.—The annual conference shall elect clergy and lay delegates to the General Conference and to its jurisdictional or central conference in the manner provided in this section, Articles IV and V.69 Such elections shall include open nominations from the floor by the annual conference and delegates shall be elected by a minimum of a simple majority of the ballots cast.

UMR highly recommends following as a resource to track GC legislation. You can also click here to view the current BOD paragraph and the amendment.

This motion was Adopted, with 767 votes for and 22 votes against.

Laura Harbert Allen, Managing Editor

Laura is an independent public radio and multimedia producer who makes stories in the documentary tradition. She served as communications director for the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church for seven years and has more than 20 years experience in public radio as an announcer, producer, program director, and general manager. She has also written about music for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, and done feature work for Wonderful West Virginia Magazine. Laura is married to the Rev. Jeff Allen. They live in Charleston, West Virginia.

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1 JOHN 3:9 “Whosoever is born of God doth not [habitually] commit sin; for his seed remains [forever] in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” While God likely does not have genitals, He acts in a manner that is like that of a male (not a female): 1) In the above verse, God’s “seed”, when planted in a person, gives that person the status of “born of God.” 2) God “seeded” the planet itself. 3) God said, “Let us make MAN after our image” which strongly suggests a male-like God (and of course Jesus, His… Read more »

Steve Zinser
Steve Zinser

The second makes sense. There is no real point to the first, and it will lead to wild-eyed interpretations. IOW, it will make no difference.


With respect to the first, the underlying Greek word for “seed” is “sperma”, and just like physical birth, one can be spiritually born, is the implication. Indeed, Nicodemus asked Jesus if we must re-enter our mother’s womb to be reborn, but Jesus clarified that “that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6) There are other clarifications that rule out wild-eye interpretations, if one take the time to study scripture, and John 3:6 is but one simple example.

Don Wilson
Don Wilson

So is it another ambiguous paragraph that later must be explained as to why it doesn’t mean what says? How can we agree that scripture is incorrect when it says “God the Father” and then claim that when the fanatics get on board with us we will use scripture to prove both of us wrong? Sounds like the double minded man (or double minded it) that James warns us about.

Don Wilson Lillington NC

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