On January 3, a new proposal was offered for the delegates to consider at the upcoming General Conference meeting in May. Our church’s leadership was faithful to routinely examine the proposals for last year’s General Conference and our leaders have been already been talking about the legislation that will come before this year’s General Conference meeting. As we did last year, our Administrative Council will soon set a plan to talk with our church about this new report, as well as the many other legislative proposals, that will come before the General Conference. As we move toward this General Conference, let us all pray for our church, for the delegates and for our denomination, and stay focused on Christ’s Kingdom work in and through our church family.

Here is what our Bishop immediately shared with our Annual Conference after the announcement of this new General Conference proposal:

Greetings brothers and sisters in Christ,
I write you today to inform you of the report that was shared at the recent Council of Bishops gathering by the negotiation team, as well as to provide clarity about that report. This morning the communications office of the Council of Bishops released a statement titled,
United Methodist Traditionalists, Centrists, Progressives, & Bishops sign agreement aimed at separation. This statement discusses the collaboration of various representatives from United Methodist advocacy groups with contrasting views on a proposed agreement for the separation of The United Methodist Church (UMC). As you read the briefing below, it is paramount that you keep these facts in mind:

  • be aware that this agreement is a proposal to the General Conference
  • be aware that the General Conference will have to act to receive this proposal since it did not come through the normal cycle
  • the proposal presents what are called “protocols” for a negotiated separation
  • the proposal must still be approved by the General Conference.

I want you to know that the Council of Bishops did not vote nor endorse the proposal from the negotiation team. The proposal was received as a report. I have been in conversation with the heads of the Mississippi Delegation and they assured me that the delegation will thoroughly study these protocols together very soon.
Last and most important, I ask that your first response to this be spending some quiet time with God and praying that His will be done in this matter.

Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr.