One Adult Sunday School Class Makes It to General Conference...


“AHA! There it is! It really made it!” Right there in the bottom right-hand corner of page 263 of the Advance Daily Christian Advocate (ADCA) is a petition from the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference – a petition I witnessed being created.

In the fall of 2009, the adult Sunday school class at Sweet Home UMC was studying our United Methodist Social Principles. When they read paragraph 161B (The Nurturing Community: Marriage), class members voiced strong disagreement with the phrase that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The class members are strongly supportive of marriage equality; the congregation is inclusive in its welcome and is a Reconciling Congregation. 

One class member asked, “How do we change this?” The lay leader explained the process of writing a petition to our Annual Conference that could be affirmed and sent on to General Conference. “Let’s do it!” several others urged.

The petition seeks change to the language in the Book of Discipline to support civil laws that define marriage as between two consenting adults. “Will it be approved by the Annual Conference? Do others support same-sex marriage like us?” “Yes!” said those who have attended Annual Conference and have seen the large majority that supports many social justice resolutions.

In the end, the class submitted several petitions to our Legislative Assembly. All were passed and at Annual Conference 2010, the petitions were resoundingly affirmed. The Conference Secretary submitted these and other petitions from our Annual Conference to the General Conference petitions secretary last fall.

And now, the petition from tiny Sweet Home UMC resides in the documentation for all General Conference delegates -- one among thousands of petitions and resolutions sent by conferences, agencies, churches, and individuals for consideration. (The ADCA is over 1400 pages!)

It is a powerful thing to know that our local voice will be heard as the delegates gather from all over the world. I ask for your prayers for wisdom, understanding, endurance, and vision as we seek to follow Christ through the United Methodist Church.

April Hall Cutting
April Hall Cutting is a delegate to the 2012 Western Jurisdictional Conference and will be attending General Conference as an additional reserve delegate and observer. She is the Pastor at Sweet Home, Halsey, and Harrisburg United Methodist Churches in the central Willamette Valley of Oregon.