Author: Rev. Dr. Mark R. Holland, Executive Director, Mainstream UMC
Many people have asked, “What can we do?” Well, one thing we can all do is recruit delegates for General Conference 2020. Every annual conference in the United States will be electing a new slate of delegates in May/June of this year. We need great individuals to fill out and submit the candidate forms.
We need to recruit delegates who are tolerant of difference. It does not matter if someone is “conservative” or “liberal.” What matters is if this person is willing to extend grace to those with whom they disagree. We need to challenge the vote at General Conference that wants to certify, punish, and evict everyone who does not share a particular view of scripture.
A mean-spirited church is out of step with the church in the United States and we need to send people to General Conference who are willing to accept difference. Remember, Jesus said, we should evict our enemies…or did he say we should tolerate our enemies? I can’t remember. In the last few weeks I have been accused of not reading the Bible, so you wouldn’t believe me if I said Jesus calls us to love our enemies. If I were a Bible believing Christian, I would look for that verse in Matthew 5:44 during the Sermon on the Mount.
Check your conference website to find the submission deadline for the candidate profiles…I know…some have already passed. In the Great Plains Conference, the deadline is next Friday, March 15, 2019. But again, that varies by conference.
To qualify as a lay person, you do not need to be a voting member of your annual conference. According to The Book of Discipline, paragraph 36, you need only have been active in the church for four years and a member for two years. You must be a part of a local church within the bounds of your annual conference. All clergy are eligible to run also. I do not think a conference can technically limit the field to those who have completed the profiles. But practically speaking, without the profile, it would be difficult to get elected unless you are already very well known in your conference.
Then contact leaders in your conference about how to elect the best delegation possible. Work together. It is time to stand up for the future of our church!
Invite all of your friends and church members to sign up at www.MainstreamUMC.com/sign-up to grow the network for action.