Update from United Methodist Church General Conference in Tampa – Conservatives Winning Most Votes, Setbacks for Abortion & Israeli Divestment Supporters

Here is an update from Mark Tooley of the Institute of Religion and Democracy about what happened Saturday:

United Methodist Action is a division of the IRD.

Update from General Conference

Your prayers are being heard!

The Church and Society legislative committee, finishing its work Saturday night, rejected attempts to liberalize United Methodism’s teaching on marriage and sexual behavior, especially homosexuality.

Quite historic, as typically this committee is stacked with a liberal majority and rejects the church’s position, only to be overturned in the full plenary!

Praise God!

The same committee also voted for the first time for United Methodism to withdraw from the infamous Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, which United Methodism sadly helped found in 1973 to promote unrestricted abortion rights. It will be historic if the full plenary confirms this vote later this week. So please keep praying.

Disturbingly, another legislative committee voted to allow church pension benefits for same-sex partners in states where same sex marriage is legal.

We will work to defeat it in plenary.

More prayers needed! Some local conferences already grant benefits to so-called domestic partners.

The symbol of the 2012 Tampa General Conference.

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Today, most of the African delegates attended a wonderful service at a nearby evangelical United Methodist congregation. A Liberian district superintendent aptly told that church:

“This is what the church in America needs, to evangelize and preach the Word of God before it’s too late.”


The Financial Administration legislative committee rejected anti-Israel divestment by 52-20.

They narrowly instead passed a resolution urging “positive” investment that would help Palestinians rather than hurt Israel. Anti-Israel activists are rife here at General Conference, and their sails were inflated by last week’s biased “Sixty Minutes” story, about which I wrote for The Weekly Standard here.

Tomorrow are Judicial Council elections. Please pray that persons who will faithfully uphold our Discipline are elected.

With appreciation,

Mark Tooley
IRD President
Director, UMAction

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Here is the report from the Confessing Movement:

Sunday, April 29 – Day 6 of General Conference

Sunday is the Lord’s Day at General Conference so no business will be conducted. Legislative groups finished their work late last night (Saturday). Here are a few of the items to report:

  1. A resolution that would have the church withdraw from the Relgious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) has passed the legislative group and will be send to the floor of the conference where it will receive opposition.
  2. A related petition which prohibits agencies from joining external coalitions or organizations without approval of the full agency or the General Conference passed 53-22. This was directed to RCRC.
  3. Legislation passed which would limit the Council of Bishops membership only to active bishops (retired bishops have been disruptive and have advanced causes like homosexuality).
  4. The restructuring plan which many felt was the major issue at the conference, did not pass the legislative group. Three different plans were proposed. All three were voted down primarily due to confusion of rules, inability to agree on needed compromises, and an inordinate amount of time spent on arguing who should serve on the oversight board.
  5. The attempt to remove language in the Social Principles which states that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching (the basis for all other petitions on homosexual practice) failed 34-43. It had earlier passed the sublegislative group 14-12. There will be a floor fight and probably some demonstrations following the plenary vote.
  6. A somewhat similar petition which would have stated that we agree to disagree on matters of homosexuality failed 33-43.
  7. Definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman has been reaffirmed.
  8. The petitions brought forth by the Ministry Study mostly failed. However, the petition that would removed guaranteed appointments for ministers in full connection has passed.
  9. A statement strengthening our theological statement by emphasizing the primacy of Scripture passed.A petition allowing other ministries with women besides the official UMW passed in legislative group. This same petition presented by Renew had failed at a number of other General Conferences.
  10. A footnote in Par. 311 which deals with the meaning of homosexuality in clergy matters passed 38-36. This will be debated on the floor of the conference.

All of these actions need discussion and approval by the plenary session before they become official. These debates will begin Monday and will last through Friday.

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Update from United Methodist Church General Conference in Tampa – Conservatives Winning Most Votes, Setbacks for Abortion & Israeli Divestment Supporters — 3 Comments

  1. I am thankful for all the hard work that is being done I wish I could do more to help

  2. Mark, Does IRD have concerns with “Human Trafficing”?

    Grand Daughter, Ashleigh Chapman, honor grad from Regent Law School is the CEO of a program she’s started from her Leadership in the Regent Global Ministry in Human Trafficing.

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