Bishop Sally Dyck challenges the General Conference at Friday’s opening worship

Portland, OR –It’s 8:00 am, and the plenary hall of the United Methodist General Conference is still nearly empty, with those present milling around and talking amongst one another. Calmly approaching the microphone, the worship leader speaks: “Once Jesus calls us to follow him, our lives are never the same” With that, the Rev. Laura Bartlett, […]

News Analysis: Who is the “We” at General Conference?

“We are winning!” “We are losing.” Rev. Jason Valendy, reserve delegate to General Conference stood outside a legislative committee room. He had hoped to observe the election of officers inside, but seating space for non-members was limited, and fire marshals ordered him out of the space. One woman slipped out briefly, and as she came […]

The team in black: Methesco students come to GC2016

Eleven people, all wearing identical black shirts, walked purposefully into the designated Press Room at General Conference and immediately focused themselves with admirable industry on their writing. Sitting on the back row across from them, the UMR team couldn’t help but notice their focus and attention (maybe because we were already dragging after two days […]

Bishop Palmer pulls no punches in the Episcopal address

After somewhat lackluster morning worship filled with multiple languages and liturgies of confession, Bishop Gregory V. Palmer rose to offer the episcopal address this morning at the Oregon Convention Center. One word has never left his consciousness: humility. From there, Palmer took little time wading into the murky waters of the troubled United Methodist Church. […]

Opening worship characterized by words of diversity and call for unity

Editor’s Note: UMR correspondent Christy Thomas is a retired United Methodist Elder and known for her Mystery Worshipper series written for the Denton (Texas) Record-Chronicle. Christy offers her reflections on the opening worship service.  Portland, OR —Pentecost is May 15 this year. Those in opening worship at the 2016 General Conference experienced a touch of […]

Gay ordination ceremony before General Conference

Portland, OR — The security guard spoke into his communicator, “It’s grape juice, not wine.” A man holding a filled chalice along with a small crowd all singing “Surely the Presence of the Lord is in This Place” sought entrance to the Oregon Conference Center, the site of the 2016 General Conference of The United Methodist […]