General Conference Day Five sees final legislative committee work, passes some Social Principles revisions

Above: Susan Brumbaugh, coordinator of the calendar for the conference, addresses the 2024 General Conference in Charlotte, N.C. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

By Jessica Brodie

CHARLOTTE—Day Five of the United Methodist General Conference brought not only the final day of legislative committee work but also rousing worship celebrating the ministry of the UMC and the passage of some Social Principles revisions.

A joyful worship

Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa of the Zimbabwe Area preached the morning worship service Saturday, April 27, lifting up the day’s theme, “In The Rejoicing… Know that I am God,” from Philippians 4:4-8.

Applause filled the room as Nhiwatiwa praised the work of the UMC, noting, “There’s no other denomination which does ministry better or more than this denomination.”

He said the churchwide arguments must stop, and it’s surprising they hadn’t leveled the denomination long before. He said that if we can put an end to this, we can serve the Lord in true glory.

“Stop arguing and start praising the Lord,” Nhiwatiwa preached.

An A in gender parity

Next, Presiding Bishop Tom Berlin of the Florida Conference called Saturday’s plenary to order.

The Rev. Giovanni Arroyo of the General Commission on Religion and Race and Dawn Wiggins Hare of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women provided the monitoring report, announcing that for the first time, General Conference reached gender parity for those speaking on floor and in committee. Speakers in legislative committees were 51.1 percent female, 47.9 percent male and 1 percent nonbinary.

“Church, you get an A,” Arroyo said to ovation.

Body passes expanded human rights support

Key in the morning’s plenary was passage of the first of a number of proposed revisions to the UMC’s Social Principles.

The body passed language expressly supporting “the equal rights, liberties, and protections of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

This means the UMC believes people should be treated with basic human dignity regardless of whether they are male, female, intersexual, transgender or nonbinary.

It also speaks out against slavery, war and the death penalty as well as affirms support for indigenous communities, support for migrants and refugees, health care as a basic human right and the well-being of children and young people.

The legislation passed 671-57.

Read a fuller story, here.

More revisions to the Social Principles were addressed in committees Saturday and are expected to be voted on next week, including those addressing marriage and human sexuality.

Also included in the consent calendar that passed were a restructuring of the Connectional Table to reflect a more international makeup and a change from November to May for United Methodist Student Day. 

Delegates will consider three consent calendars when business resumes Monday. Those calendars include legislation such as protection for the girl child and a formal public apology to Native Hawaiians for the church’s complicity in the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy.

Sunday is a day off so delegates and others at General Conference can have a day of spiritual refreshment.

Some elections held

Also in the Saturday morning plenary, General Conference approved nominations to the Interjurisdictional Committee on Episcopacy, which includes South Carolina’s Jacqueline Jenkins and Ken Nelson.

The body also elected members of the University Senate, including Claflin University’s President, Dwuan J. Warmack, and Peter Mageto, vice chancellor of Africa University. Mageto was nominated by Nelson from the floor.

Day5 ken

Above: South Carolina’s Ken Nelson nominates Peter Mageto, vice chancellor of Africa University, to the University Senate during General Conference. Screengrab.

The morning plenary adjourned at 11:09 a.m., and delegates spent the rest of the day in legislative committee work. By the end of Saturday, they had addressed more than 1,000 petitions in the 14 committees. All valid petitions are required to receive a vote in legislative committee, and their work had to be complete by end of day Saturday.

Any petition approved by a legislative committee is required to receive a vote in plenary.

Who are the delegates representing South Carolina?

What are the 14 legislative committees (and who from S.C. is on them?)

Read the Advocate's overview article on GC

More General Conference information

Read the Advance Daily Christian Advocate

See for Yourself: Watch GC on Livestream

Get Periodic Updates from the Advocate We never sell or share your information. You can unsubscribe from receiving our emails at any time.