Though it was twenty-one degrees outside; inside the Conference Center things were heating up!
We kicked off the day with the Renewal and Reform Good News Breakfast in which we celebrated the victory of the Traditional Plan becoming the plan of General Conference 2019's top choice.
After a brief worship, the General Conference body became one legislative section, working on the Traditional Plan. Right off the bat, there was a motion to postpone work on the Traditional Plan. That was the opening salvo of an enduring attempt to thwart work on the plan. Passionate speeches about how passing the Traditional Plan would be equivalent to cutting the church in half. But, the vote to postpone failed.
Several needed amendments were offered to bring the Traditional Plan into compliance with the Judicial Council's rulings which found portions unconstitutional. This continued to give people opportunity to condemn the plan. Tom Berlin spoke up saying it was NOT the plan the USA wanted because, in his words, "40% of the Traditional Plan was found to be unconstitutional; it was not a uniting plan, and he urged voting against it.
Three amendments were finally accepted, but a motion to 'call the question' on the Traditional Plan was accepted and shut down any further amendments. These actions have surprised the Evangelical leaders. There are many more amendments needed to bring the Traditional Plan into full compliance with the Judicial Council rulings. Pray for the leaders tonight as they search for ways and coordinate with delegates about amending it tomorrow in plenary.
Anyway, a vote was taken and the Traditional Plan passed 56.22% to 43.78%. Hallelujah!! It goes on to the plenary session - whose job will change into its legal, decision making mode with the same people but in a different role.
After the Traditional Plan passed, Disaffiliation Petitions were taken up: Taylor and Boyette. Both passed. These allow churches to leave the conference with their property. Taylors is knotty and involved for churches. Boyette's is much easier and by far better. Pray Boyette's can be considered first and approved, and Taylor's not needed.
The One Church Plan was next up for consideration. The General Conference was working it's way down the list of priorities. After a lot of amendments and speeches celebrating the One Church Plan, it was defeated 53% to 47%.
After lunch, a motion was made to reject all remaining petitions. An amendment was offered to set-aside all petitions to work on the Simple Plan whose drafters call it the "queer" plan. It would delete all negative language in the Book of Discipline regarding homosexuality. Surprisingly, the amendment passed. So, the General Conference would hear the Simple Plan. Possibly it was a way of General Conference extending an opportunity to the LGBTQI to be heard. It gave those who had lost most all votes, a chance to vent. During this time, a very, passionate, speech from a young homosexual activist from New York ignited a number in the audience. Cheers, applause, and even the Bishops rose to their feet to join the moment.
After a break, the Simple Plan went down in the fire that ignited it, 60% against, 39% for.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, is the final day. We can accomplish what we beforehand thought not possible - pass the Traditional Plan and an exit (Disaffiliation) plan. The General Conference has shown a decisive mood. It's voting has been consistent and determined. It's as though it is determined to leave having acted. Please thank the Lord Jesus and pray for Tuesday's work.
Drafted by Tom/submitted by Gayle