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Know that I am God

The much-awaited General Conference of the United Methodist Church is rapidly approaching. It will be held from April 23rd to May 3rd in Charlotte, NC. We wanted to give you some background on the Conference so you could be better informed about it and what it involves.

The General Conference is the chief decision-making body of the UMC. Yet that is not the only thing that is done at the Conference. The conference is also a time for delegates from around the world to gather to worship, pray, share ministries, and to meet other UM friends. It is a celebration in sharing what God has done in the worldwide church and in the local churches. Given the challenges that have faced the UMC, this Conference in Charlotte will be an affirmation that the UMC is alive and hopeful for the future.

Some background on the General Conference (GC). A GC convenes every four years and meets for about 10 days. However, because of the pandemic, there has not been one since 2016, (however there was a specially called Conference in 2019.) The United Methodist Church is a worldwide church, that covers 4 different continents. So, it is a major undertaking to assemble all the delegates in one place. The General Conference is a representative body, which means that delegates from all regions of the world, where there are UM churches, elect who will attend this event.

Convening at this upcoming conference will be 862 delegates, half are laity and half are clergy, The breakdown of the conference includes 56% from the US, and 44% from outside the US. There will be 16 delegates from Florida who will participate. These delegates were elected for the 2020 General Conference, that was postponed due to the pandemic. To view the list of delegates (8 clergy and 8 laity) click on FLUMC - Florida GC Delegation. Listed on this site also, are the SE Jurisdictional Delegates, the body the selects bishops, which convenes from July 10th to 12th.

The task of considering and voting on petitions to be passed by this body is a principal task for this conference. There are 3 major topics being addressed this year.

Worldwide Reorganization of UMC into Regions – This proposal would create 8 distinct regional governing bodies, of which the United States would be one. Each region could then adapt parts of the Book of Discipline for their context so that churches in the region can be the most fruitful and more relevant within their context. Regions could not change Parts I through V which contain the Constitution, Doctrinal Standards, Theological Task and other items that are considered “unchangeable”. To pass this proposal would require an amendment to the UMC’s Constitution. Changes to the Constitution require a 2/3rd majority and then must be voted on by each of the area Conferences, (Annual Conferences) also by a 2/3rd majority.

Revision of Social Principles – Major changes have been proposed to the Social Principles of the church while still leaving it as a globally relevant document,

biblically based with strong Wesleyan theological grounding. The most prominent one is to change the language on homosexuality, which currently reads that homosexuality is incompatible with Scripture. The changes would also remove the language banning gay or lesbian clergy and the ban on same-sex marriages. The language would be removed, but it would still be up to the discretion of the local church and/ or the pastor to allow either of them.

Approval of Budget for the Next Four Years – Since 2016 about ¼ of the churches in the US have disaffiliated with the United Methodist Church. Because of this, budget cuts are needed. The budget being proposed is 47% smaller than the previous General Conference budget.

If you want to know more about the upcoming General Conference watch the Pre-General Conference Briefing Or, go to the UMC site at General Conference ( Some of the Florida delegates will be writing blogs during the conference, so check the FL Conference web site Bishop Berlin will also be creating daily videos from the conference that will be linked at FLUMC - Home. Also, you can email the FL Conference delegates at

This is a watershed conference for the United Methodist Church. But no matter what is decided, the church will still be in the ministry of Kingdom building, sharing the Gospel and making disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world. Remember that this conference is not just about deciding on legislation but continuing the ministry and mission of the UMC. Keep the conference in your prayers, especially the FL Conference delegates.


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