Legislation Report: Monday, May 16


Church & Society A

  • Passed a strong resolution on combating the modern slave trade
  • Passed a resolution calling for the labeling of all products produced in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem
  • Passed a resolution supporting International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
  • Passed a resolution calling for the release of Oscar Lopez-Rivera, a man sentenced to prison in Puerto Rico for many hears due to terrorist acts and a refusal to renounce violence


Church & Society B

  • Adopted a resolution instructing the General Board of Church and Society and the United Methodist Women to withdraw immediately from RCRC by a vote of 44-25
  • Adopted a resolution reaffirming our opposition to gender-selection abortion
  • Added a statement to the Social Principles affirming the church’s ministry to all those affected by abortion and crisis pregnancy, whether or not they terminate a pregnancy
  • Readopted a strong resolution opposing the intentional ending of human life by suicide or physician assisted suicide
  • The vote on ATW changes to delete the incompatibility language from ¶ 161F was reversed, so that it was defeated 40-30
  • All other attempts to change our church’s position on marriage and homosexuality in the Social Principles or resolutions failed
  • Added a new paragraph to the Social Principles decrying the use and effects of pornography


  • Proposal to exclude inactive retired clergy from voting at annual conference failed, 40-29
  • An attempt to limit the ability of the Commission on the General Conference to arbitrarily set the number of delegates for General Conference failed 42-23
  • Proposal to restrict general agency paid staff from serving as delegates t General Conference was defeated 47-23
  • All proposals to change jurisdictional boundaries or eliminate one jurisdiction were defeated – instead there will be a study of jurisdictional and episcopal boundaries with a report to the 2020 General Conference, which also includes deferring any reduction in the number of U.S. bishops
  • Proposals to correct the imbalance of representation by setting the minimum representation to General Conference at two delegates per episcopal area, rather than two per conference, lost 39-22
  • The attempt to limit who can submit petitions to General Conference failed 51-17
  • A new provision was added that requires each petition submitted to be voted on by the legislative committee and each petition passed by a legislative committee to be voted on by the plenary at General Conference


  • Discipleship Ministries was instructed to develop and share on its website a list of books and other recommended resources that clearly affirm our Church’s moral standards for sexual behavior, as found in the Social Principlesand other relevant sections of the Book of Discipline
  • The General Board of Discipleship shall prioritize resources that strengthen marriage and families, including Christian teaching about marriage as the lifelong union of husband and wife, and sexual ethics, emphasizing fidelity and chastity
  • New hymnal concept was approved 72-6

Faith & Order

  • Attempts to delete the prohibition against ordaining self-avowed practicing homosexuals failed by four-vote margins
  • Proposal to add “for the eternal salvation of persons” to our mission statement was declined 55-10

Financial Administration

  • Proposal to increase funding for central conference theological education from $5 million to $10 million for the quadrennium failed, and the $5 million was replaced by an amount to be raised from central conference apportionments over $750,000
  • All proposals to mandate divestment from companies related to Israel or from fossil fuels failed, and revised investment guidelines were adopted that rely upon the judgment of the general agencies

General Administration

  • Proposal to make membership on the CT more reflective of proportional membership in the various regions of the church failed 52-16 – instead, a study will be undertaken to figure out how to reconstitute the membership on the CT
  • ¶ 4 on inclusiveness was rewritten to more clearly define how all persons are included in the church, and age and gender inclusion were added by a vote of 58-11

Judicial Administration

  • A new chargeable offense for “fiscal malfeasance” was added, and the chargeable offense of sexual misconduct was expanded to include “the use or possession of pornography” by a vote of 44-6
  • None of the proposals to revise the complaint process against bishops was considered (but see under LC 12)
  • The attempt to delete the chargeable offenses related to homosexuality were not adopted 29-19
  • CUP plan – a just resolution must include a commitment not to repeat the offense – adopted in full committee 30-21
  • CUP plan – requiring the complainant to agree to a just resolution – adopted in full committee 28-22
  • Proposal that a just resolution of an acknowledged violation of a chargeable offense must include a one-year suspension – passed full committee 33-17
  • However, proposal for a mandatory minimum penalty after a trial for performing a same-sex marriage was not considered by the committee

Local Church

  • CUP plan – ability of a congregation that is in conscientious disagreement with the Discipline on the issues of marriage and human sexuality may withdraw from the denomination with their property and assets passed the full committee 32-31
  • Requirement for the charge conference to promote awareness of and concurrence with the doctrinal standards and general rules – passed full committee 59-3

Ministry & Higher Education/Superintendency

  • Proposals to increase the required vote to approve candidates for various stages of the ordination process increased to a ¾ vote
  • A constitutional amendment that would expect the Council of Bishops to hold individual bishops accountable passed 40-10
  • Legislation was also passed that would allow the Council to place bishops on involuntary leave or involuntary retirement, as well as reclaim complaints that have not been timely processed from a college of bishops
  • Proposal to require BOOM and clergy session approval for clergy transfers into an annual conference passed 60-15
  • Proposals to strengthen the accountability of candidates for ordained ministry to personally believe in the doctrines of our church were not considered by the committee
  • Attempt to remove guaranteed appointment failed by a vote of 62-24
  • Proposal to delete the prohibition against performing homosexual unions did not pass 39-38
  • This committee also approved a minimum one-year suspension for the just resolution of any chargeable offense which the person acknowledges, by votes of 28-24 and 33-17
  • Attempts to change the formula for how bishops are assigned in the U.S. were not adopted
  • Proposed term limits for bishops were adopted – initial 8-year term with the possibility of being reelected for an additional 8-year term (so a 16-year maximum) – in addition, retired bishops would no longer be members of the Council of Bishops and would return to membership in an annual conference