GC: Surprise & Gratitude Plus Reading, Reading, Reading


I find myself writing today about General Conference, and my role on our delegation team. I was elected after surprising myself by standing up in the laity session of the 2011 Annual Conference meeting and saying this is something I would like to do. I find myself being both in awe that I was elected and quite grateful to those who elected me for this amazing and overwhelming opportunity.

In my time over the last four years at AC I have always wanted to be part of the change that is constantly happening in the larger church. Now that I have that opportunity I find myself spending a couple hours a day reading through legislation, reading lots of emails and trying to wrap my head around all of the information that is pouring in. I did not realize that there would be so much involvement. However that involvement is well worth it.
Being part of the GC team I am learning about all the intricacies, interworking, and general standing of the UMC. I have also learned that, as with any large body of people, there are some things that I don’t completely agree with in our official standings laid out in The Book of Discipline.
I was asked which legislative committee I would like to be the lead person on keeping track of before and during GC. I chose the group titled “Local Church.” The things included in this section of legislation are membership, charge conference, clergy housing, church properties, and a small handful of other things related to the local church. As I said before there are some things that I don’t completely agree with in The Book of Discipline. One of those things happens to fall into the local church section of legislation, and that is membership, and who is allowed to be a member. The discipline states “All people may attend its worship services, participate in its programs, receive the sacraments and become members in any local church in the connection (¶ 4).” However, recently the Judicial Council upheld the decision of a local pastor to deny membership to a homosexual person. With this being the case there are many petitions that are trying to make the language more specific so that this cannot happen in the future; there are also petitions coming up that would add the ability to appeal the local pastor's decision to a larger body of people.
I personally hope that at this meeting of GC the global church becomes more inclusive and willing to be flexible in our ever changing world.


Vincent Myers
Vincent Myers is a delegate to the 2012 Western Jurisdictional Conference and is attending General Conference as an additional reserve delegate and observer. Vincent is a student at Chemeketa Community College and lives in Salem, Oregon.