Pastor Dave's Blog

Filter By:

← Return to Blog Home

#GC2019 Primer #5

This is the fifth in a multi-week series to help us be informed about -- and prepared for -- the Special Session of the General Conference (aka #GC2019) to be held February 23-26, 2019 in Saint Louis, MO. 

Read previous entries in this series here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. 

Those initial installments have (or at least link to) all the background information about how the United Methodist Church found itself in the position of needing the Commission on a Way Forward and #GC2019. 

Today, I’ll follow up (as promised in last week’s post) on a way in which our Northern Illinois Conference (NIC) is leading the denomination in preparing for #GC2019. Plus, I received my first question about this series! So I’ll respond to that as well. 

Speaking of questions…you too can submit a question about any of this and I will respond in a future post. Either put your question in a comment below or email your question to me directly. 

Here’s what a parishioner asked:

What can I (or we) do about #GC2019 as a lay member of a UMC congregation? How can we make our voices heard to encourage our denomination to move toward full inclusion of LGBTQ+ people?

 The first and best response is: Pray.

Pray for the twelve delegates from our Northern Illinois Conference.

Pray for all the delegates who will attend #GC2019.

Pray, in the words of our Bishop, the Rev. Dr. Sally Dyck, “May all hearts and minds be open to God’s Holy Spirit in this time of discernment.” Read Bishop Dyck’s full statement here.

Unlike with legislation before Congress, there is no mechanism for direct lobbying of the delegates. We cannot call them or write them as we would our Senators and Representatives. However, the NIC delegates to #GC2019 do have a Facebook page. You can “like” that to follow them there and post words of encouragement. 

What to know more about our NIC delegation to #GC2019? They published a FAQ statement. Read that here. 

As for the way in which our NIC is leading the denomination…we are doing so by taking a deep, deep dive into the potential impact the “Traditionalist” Plan would have on clergy and annual conference compensation and pensions. The NIC Conference Board of Pensions offers this analysis. 

They are the first to publish such a comprehensive look at the financial effect of the plan. Doing so became necessary when, as their post details, supporters of the “Traditionalist” Plan claimed their plan would “avoid any disruption or confusion with clergy benefits.” That claim is simply not true. Instead, the “Traditionalist” Plan could cost clergy six-figure retirement benefits. Whatever else that plan is, it is not financially neutral as was claimed. 

Just two more weeks until #GC2019! Keep reading and please keep praying for the UMC to find a just way forward.

Posted by Pastor Dave Buerstetta with