Day Four of General Conference continues committee work

Above, Mississippi Conference Bishop Sharma Lewis preaches at the April 26 morning worship service at the United Methodist General Conference in Charlotte. Photo by Paul Jeffrey, UM News.

By Jessica Brodie

CHARLOTTE—Day Four of General Conference saw delegates speed through a quick morning plenary and worship before spending the rest of their day in legislative work, tackling the hundreds of petitions needed to address before full voting begins next week.

Lifting up the theme “In the Trusting … Know that I am God,” Friday, April 26, brought a convicting words from Bishop Sharma Lewis, who talked about what it really means to trust in God, Drawing from Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths,” Lewis opened by sharing about Miss Viv from her youth. Miss Viv liked to sing the old spiritual, “I will trust in the Lord,” and Lewis sang some of the hymn before the body, as others joined her.

Lewis shared how it took her a while to understand what it really means to trust in the Lord, to remain on the battlefield for God when everything else is crumbling.

“Trust is a constant dependence on God,” Lewis preached. “This life is constantly changing every day, but the Lord is the one constant in our lives.”

After all, it’s Jehovah Rapha who heals us, not Buddha or some divine crystal.

“We sing ‘I surrender all,’ but do we really mean it?,” she said, urging the body to keep their focus on trusting God above all.

She said prayer is key to helping facilitate this.

“If we want to see something change in the Methodist Church, we’ve got to stay on bended knee.”

Presiding Bishop Héctor A. Burgos Núñez called fourth plenary session to order a little after 9 a.m., echoing Lewis’s trust theme.


Above: Presiding Bishop Héctor A. Burgos Núñez

As he opened in a Spanish language prayer, “Let us remember that, yes, we can. With the help of God, yes we can.”

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, calling out two issues they saw the day prior. One issue was that non-English speaking delegates often apologized for not speaking English when addressing the body.

Let’s not center English as the language of General Conference, Hare said, adding, “God’s linguistic diversity is a gift to us.”

Arroyo noted people were often making derogatory comments or other jokes about their age when they spoke before the body, something that has the potential to foster ageism. He explained the different age categories people can use: Up to 18 is youth, age 19-35 is young adult, age 36-64 is adult, and 65 and older is an older adult.

After drawing attention to where delegates can find the day’s consent calendar, next came the credentialing report, led by Diane Brown.

Brown brought a motion from the Committee on Credentials that General Conference authorize a one-time exception to the quadrennial election cycle in order to authorize the credentialing of persons who were provisionally elected in 2023 as delegates or reserve delegates to the Jurisdictional/Central Conference.

The original motion called for the credentialing process to begin 48 hours after the motion is approved by the body, but delegates passed an amended version the motion that the credentialing process be completed by the end of the day.

The vote passed 702 to 20.

After reports from the Journal, Courtesies and Provisions and Presiding Officers, Bishop Gregory Palmer took the stage to preside over General Conference.

Greg palmer

Above: Presiding Bishop Gregory Palmer

Palmer invited all to a time of prayer and to remember the protests going on at university campuses by people coming alongside those suffering in the war in Israel and Gaza.

Following this came the Connectional Table report, presented by Judi Kenaston, chief Connectional Ministries officer, and Bishop Mande Muyombo, chair.

No matter what happens, Kenaston reminded the body, “We are still called to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

A video onscreen provided an overview of the 2023 State of the Church, lifting up how The United Methodist Church continues to make disciples worldwide even amid its challenges.

The plenary closed for legislative committee work that occurred the rest of the day.  

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

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