The UMC Conference Structure
California-Nevada Annual Conference News
The 2016 meeting of the California-Nevada Annual Conference was held June 22-25 in Burlingame, CA.
What is the UMC Western Jurisdiction?
The Western Jurisdiction‘s vision: “A home for all God’s people, gathered around a table of reconciliation and transformation: the Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church is multicultural and inclusive, engaged in the life of its communities, with confident, effective lay and clergy leadership who, in diverse ministry settings, form disciples who live out the Good News of Jesus as global citizens.”
The Western Jurisdictional Conference ran from July 13-16, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Delegates traveled from the eastern edge of Colorado, the islands of Hawaii, Guam, and Saipan in the west, from Alaska in the north, and all places in between to reach this southern edge of the Western Jurisdiction in Arizona.
This conference celebrated the retirement of California-Nevada Conference Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., and was assigned a new leader, Bishop Minerva Carcaño, who began her tenure September 2016.
To follow news and reflections from the California-Nevada Conference delegation, click here.
To follow Western Jurisdiction news, click here.
Western Jurisdictional 2016 Conference News
On July 15, 2016, Rev. Dr. Karen P. Oliveto was elected to the episcopacy on the 17th ballot by the Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church (UMC).
“Today we took a step closer into living into beloved community,” said Oliveto.
Since 2008, Oliveto has served as the senior pastor of Glide Memorial UMC in San Francisco. CA. Prior to Glide, Oliveto served as the associate dean of academic affairs/director of contextual education at the Pacific School of Religion (PSR) in Berkeley. She has held pastorates at Bethany UMC in San Francisco and Bloomville UMC in Bloomville, New York, as well as being the campus minister at the Ecumenical House Campus Ministry at San Francisco State.
During his Episcopal Address on Wednesday, Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. of the San Francisco Episcopal Area reminded the body of the Jurisdiction’s vision to “be a home for all God’s people, gathered around a table of reconciliation and transformation.” The jurisdiction is multicultural and inclusive, engaged in the life of its communities with confident, effective, lay and clergy leadership in diverse ministry settings forming disciples who live out the Good News of Jesus as global citizens.
The Western Jurisdiction has traditionally been a place of historic first elections. Delegates to the Western Jurisdictional Conference have consistently advocated for full inclusion of all in the life of the church.
The Jurisdiction has elected:
- The first Asian-American to be elected bishop was Wilbur Choy (Chinese-American) in 1972. He served in the Seattle and San Francisco Episcopal Areas before retirement;
- The first African-American bishop to be elected in the Western Jurisdiction was Melvin G. Talbert in 1980;
- The first African-American woman bishop was Leontine T.C. Kelly, elected in 1984;
- The first Hispanic-American to be elected was Elias Galvan in 1984;
- Bishop Elias Galvan was the first Hispanic ever to serve as president of the Council of Bishops (in 2001);
- The first Japanese-American to be elected was Roy Sano in 1984; and,
- The first Latina bishop was Minerva Carcaño, elected in 2004.
Oliveto earned a Ph.D and a M.Phil. from Drew University, a M.Div. from Pacific School of Religion (PSR), and a BA from Drew University.
She has served as a General Conference delegate in 2004 and 2016, and a Jurisdictional Conference delegate in 2000, 2008, and 2012. Oliveto serves on the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), the Western Jurisdiction Council of Finance and Administration, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) as a coach for the Lead Women Pastor Project.
For Oliveto’s full biographical sketch, click here.
Oliveto was consecrated on Saturday, July 16, 2016 at Paradise Valley UMC in Paradise Valley, Arizona.
UMC 2016 General Conference
The General Conference of The United Methodist Church wll convened in Portland, Oregon on May 10-20, 2016.
The General Conference logo illustrates the theme of the 2016 conference, “Therefore go.”
The theme is based on the Great Commission set forth in Matthew 28:19-20: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)
What is the UMC General Conference?
General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church which meets once every four years and is attended by delegates from all over the world. The delegates at the conference set policy and direction for the church, can revise church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. The Conference also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs.
The best-known aspect of General Conference is the legislation. General Conference is the body that determines direction and speaks officially for our denomination. 864 delegates elected by their annual conferences will consider 1044 petitions. Half the delegates are clergy and half are laity. Bishops lead the sessions, but have neither voice nor vote.
Amendments to The Book of Discipline that guides the work of local churches, pastors, annual conferences, general agencies, and bishops, are adopted. Delegates also vote on resolutions that give the official positions of The United Methodist Church on social issues which are published in our Book of Resolutions.
The General Conference covers a wide array of issues that affect all levels of our church. A small percentage of them receive a great deal of attention. Others will pass or fail without much fanfare, but will have lasting impacts in the life of our local churches.
At the 2016 General Conference, legislation will be presented and debated on: human sexuality, the budget of the general church for 2017-2020, a more global church structure, the ordination process for our pastors, formation of a hymnal revision committee, and more.
Whether widely publicized or not, General Conference legislation directs our work globally, regionally, and locally in our congregations.
Like to test your knowledge? Take the General Conference Quiz!
General Conference 2016: Legislative Issues
See the complete list of UMC General Conference Major Legislative Issues.
LGBTQ Equality and Roles within the Church
Read about the “Human Sexuality” issues that will be discussed at General Conference on the UMC website.
The global denomination will vote on whether or not the church will continue to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer individuals. There are many proposals coming before the 2016 General Conference regarding the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) persons in The United Methodist Church (The UMC).
From the Reconciling Ministries website:
“At their root, all of these proposals—popularly called “plans”—are attempts to rescue the institutional church from 40+ years of discriminatory harm committed against LGBTQ United Methodists.”
“Many of these plans are unnecessarily complex and would fundamentally alter our unique connectional system as Wesleyan people. It is certain that some of the plans would face judicial challenges if adopted. At least one of the “plans” would begin a new era of denomination-wide witch hunts and may indeed anticipate schism. These plans are so complicated that an entirely new process for conducting business was developed for the General Conference.
All these plans fail to address the root problem.”
Reconciling Ministries Network has adopted the idea of The Simple Plan.
“The ‘Simple Plan’ doesn’t involve complicated new procedures, it doesn’t require churches or annual conferences to engage in additional procedural steps, it doesn’t require constitutional change and ratification, it doesn’t sever connectional relationships, and it can be accomplished within any procedural order.”
“The ‘Simple Plan’ equally honors all children of God – children of all sexual orientations and gender identities. It removes institutional-level mandates that prohibit ministry with same-sex couples seeking Christian marriage and allows clergy to be faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Simple Plan removes institutional-level mandates that prohibit equal treatment of LGBTQ persons who are called to ordained ministry and allows boards of ordained ministry to consider each candidate based on their gifts and graces. The Simple Plan removes the discriminatory language from the Book of Discipline. Reconciling Ministries Network wholeheartedly endorses this plan and passionately implores the whole people of God to join together for the passage of this plan at General Conference.”
“WE ARE United Methodists committed to the embodiment of God’s love and justice within and through the people and mission of The United Methodist Church. The core of our faith is found in Jesus’ response to the question “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” – we are to “love God with all our heart, soul (being) and mind” and to “love neighbor as self” (Matthew 22:36-40). These hold ancient law, the prophets and the Gospel message together with our contemporary Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions. To this end, OUR MISSION is to assure The United Methodist Church is fully open to the presence, love and grace of God offered to all the world.
Just as we are all interconnected and interdependent in the complexity of our relationships with God, humanity and all of creation, we recognize, acknowledge and celebrate the ways all of the following concerns and hopes for our church are connected, interdependent and intersectional…”
As a Reconciling Congregation, we agree with the Reconciling Ministries Network that It’s Time to end the hurt that has engulfed so many of our families. It’s Time to welcome and celebrate everyone who comes to The UMC.
Below is a Facebook post shared by RMN of a thoughtful blog post on this topic from Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, one of the largest UMCs in the United States. Pastor Adam writes and teaches on life’s tough questions, the doubts with which we all wrestle, and the challenging issues we face today.