The United Methodist Judicial Council is meeting in Zurich, Switzerland October 23-26, 2018. Ordinarily, this news would pass with a yawn. Not this time. The Judicial Council will be reviewing the One Church Plan, the Connectional Conference Plan, and the Traditional Plan, reading briefs and hearing oral arguments.
The Council of Bishops proactively requested this review, so the General Conference would not go through all its work, only to have it shot down as unconstitutional a few months later. The Judicial Council, in all likelihood, will rule on what parts of each plan would be unconstitutional if passed in their current form. Any sections ruled unconstitutional would require a 2/3 vote to pass at General Conference. It seems unlikely that the General Conference would be able to find a 2/3 majority to change the constitution. The stakes are high!
If the Judicial Council finds any constitutional problems with the One Church Plan, my hope is the Council of Bishops would recommend any necessary fixes to the plan during their next meeting which will be held November 4-7, 2018. The Bishops have done an outstanding job so far helping our church move forward. I believe we need their continued leadership to stay on track. Any recommendations by the Bishops would be unofficial at this point in the process and would have to be picked up and carried by delegates. But the Bishops’ voices carry the credibility necessary to complete this work.
Mainstream UMC has all the information you need about the Judicial Council:
- Here is an introduction to the Judicial Council: http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/judicial-council
- You can read the complete October 2018 docket here: http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/judicial-council-october-2018-docket
- You can find the complete text of all three plans here: https://mainstreamumc.com/resources/one-church-plan/
- You can read all 26 briefs that have been submitted to the Judicial Council here: https://app.box.com/s/8spbl2fxk7qljmndtl66trsvg6l0ovd0
Or, more sanely,
- You can read a summary of all 26 briefs (Thank you Lonnie Brooks!) here: https://mainstreamumc.com/category/additional-data/
- All of the Oral Arguments before the Judicial Council will be on Tuesday, October 23 and will be livestreamed here (Beginning at 2:30 am US Eastern Time!): UMC.org/live, as well as via Facebook at www.Facebook.com/resourceUMC.
Mainstream UMC will be bringing updates from Zurich as it happens. Though, it may be a few weeks before the Judicial Council releases their full decisions. Stay tuned!