Annual Conference Actions: MFSA reflects on "We Are UMC"


Submitted by Greg Nelson with the Oregon-Idaho chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action

Each year at the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Session, among the budgets, appointments, reports, and celebrations are conference legislative items. Many of these actions and standing resolutions are intended to help us live out the values of The United Methodist Church as it exists in the Oregon-Idaho context. This article is one in a series to highlight legislative items related to social justice and values.

A standing resolution titled “We Are UMC” was brought to the conference by the Methodist Federation for Social action (MFSA). A short resolution, it makes a relevant statement for this time when there has been a call for separation from The United Methodist Church. Here is the entirety of the resolution:

Be it resolved that the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference is, and will remain, a part of The United Methodist Church.

We recognize that The United Methodist Church is an imperfect vessel for organizing our relationship to God. But we commit to staying in the connection and continuing to perfect it. In so doing we will work to foster full inclusion and overcome our current and past sins of racism, colonialism, and exclusion. With the help of God.

Supporting information for the resolution explains that the resolution is intended to signal to the rest of the denomination that the Oregon-Idaho Conference, as a body, does not intend to pursue leaving The United Methodist Church. After the item was submitted, but before it was voted on, the United Methodist Judicial Council ruled that Conferences as a unit do not have the opportunity to disaffiliate. While that may seem to make this resolution moot, publicly stating the commitment to stay involved in The United Methodist Church is important and can be seen across the denomination in the #BeUMC campaign sponsored by United Methodist Communications. Individual churches do have the option to disaffiliate using a process approved by General Conference at a special session in 2019. If any choose to do that, their disaffiliation will need to be approved by an annual conference session.