Updated: Jul 19, 2019
The day began with icy winds, and long slow lines going through the "wand and search" screening, to get inside the Dome. There were a dozen, or so, LGBTQI folk assembled with their rainbow stoles, literature, and signs singing, "Jesus Loves Me."
We in the Reform and Renewal Coalition handed out our daily newsletter and other literature, some of which were just rejected. One person even said to me, "There is no Good News in there." Another said, "it doesn't tell about unconditional love."
Security is well organized and assertive. They moved the LGBTQI folks to the other side of the street and moved us off to the perimeters. Bishop Carter preached the opening worship. One person remarked it was more of a political speech. Bishop Carter said, "We have all come with a story. God's story overcomes division. It united New Testament Christians, it can unite us in mission, peace, and abolish dividing walls. Cannot Jesus raise United Methodists and reconcile us in one body? Yes, God is able!"
After a few administrative matters, a report came from the Commission On A Way Forward. Like a lot of sermons, the two hours could have been condensed. A representative spoke on behalf of each of the three plans. Jessica Lagrone did a fine job of presenting the Traditional Plan in a gracious way.
It was frustrating in that, by lunch, we had yet to get to what finally came in the afternoon: PRIORITIZATION. That is, voting on which of the six plans and 21 petitions (not pertaining to any particular plan) were deemed high priority or low priority. Bishop Hope Morgan Ward presided. The Results took half an hour to tabulate and formulate. Those receiving the highest priority are the order in which General Conference legislative section takes up to perfect. Below are two screen shots of the results. The numbers on the right are votes received and percentages of the vote.
Hallelujah! The Traditional Plan received the second highest votes, after pension plans. So the legislative section began working on the pension plan petitions. They will be okay for clergy, so we don't have to worry about them.
Joe Harris, who presides over the legislative section where General Conference perfects petitions is one of us!! General Conference made such good progress today that we let out early! Tomorrow begins at 8 a.m. with worship and then moves to work on perfecting the Traditional Plan. There is one snag: Judicial Council ruled petitions on episcopal accountability unconstitutional.
Enjoy some video footage of the worship service and breakfast.