Sunday, June 18, 2006

More Conference Thoughts

I wanted to address a question that John raised in a previous post

John said...

Andy, could you elaborate about how the homosexuality debate played out in the Mississippi AC? Did it face resolutions to overturn the current UMC stance on the subject?

I'm told that the two sides in my conference (Florida) fought each other to a draw.

I was honestly very surprised there was no more debate than there was. There was really only item that dealt with homosexuality, the resolution I mentioned in the original post. Most of the conference dealt with the results of Katrina and rebuilding.

There were a couple of interesting resolutions put forth, the one concerning Junaluska, a resolution which put forth the notion of term limits for Bishops (it was tabled, I believe, since General Conference is scheduled to examine this and other areas of the episcopacy) and a resolution that affirmed that the Church is made up of repentant believers (I believe this was defeated because of unclear language, but I may be misremembering this one).

The main point of debate was over Junaluska. The original resolution, which is resolution 9 and can be seen in PDF format by clicking here . The original was edited by the committee on resolutions and, in my opinion, made very generic. They also added a paragraph affirmed the sacred worth of all persons.

The changes were voted down by the conference and the resolution affirmed as printed, save for the added paragraph.

And, it was surprising how little debate there was. I don't remember any opposition. There were no other moves to weaken the current position of the UMC. The MS conference is conservative, traditional, use whatever word you'd like, especially the lay delegates. I announced this resolution in worship today, and I could actually see the joy on some of their faces because they felt like someone had listened to their voice.

And, I think that is the true sadness in this whole debate is so many times the laity feel like their voice is not heard; and they are heart of the UMC. At least in MS, many of the laity felt like their voice was heard on this issue.

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