To the Contrary

By Rob Renfroe- Contrary to what you might have heard, General Conference 2016 was a real success for traditional, evangelical United Methodists. Maybe because this was my sixth General Conference, I don’t expect the Kingdom of God to come in all its glory every four years when United Methodists gather from all over the world. […]


By Steve Beard- This was my seventh General Conference and I had a sneaking suspicion that it would be like trying to ride a tornado. There are, after all, 162 marijuana dispensaries in metro Portland and one of the top tourist destinations is Voodoo Donuts. Dropping several thousand United Methodists upon the newfangled bohemian utopia […]

General Conference Legislative Summary

By Thomas Lambrecht- In the aftermath of General Conference, it is good to take stock of what was accomplished and where things went awry. From the perspective of the Renewal and Reform Coalition, here is my assessment. The 2016 General Conference was not the “do-nothing” General Conference that 2012 in Tampa was. Much legislation was […]

Sexuality Debate Put on Pause

By Heather Hahn and Sam Hodges-   General Conference delegates hit the pause button on the denomination’s quadrennial debates related to homosexuality. Late afternoon May 18 – two days before the event’s conclusion – the delegates voted by 428 to 405 to accept the recommendation of the Council of Bishops to delay a debate on homosexuality at […]

Church Ends Membership with Abortion Lobby

In a landmark decision, the 2016 General Conference voted 425-268 to sever United Methodist ties with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC). Delegates also voted to delete language supporting RCRC from the Book of Resolutions. United Methodism has a long and controversial history with the abortion rights lobby. Shortly after the Roe v. Wade […]

African Methodists Worry About Church That Brought Them Christianity

By Emily McFarlan Miller- The Rev. Jerry Kulah has nothing but gratitude for American Methodists. In 1833, they sent their first missionary to his country, Liberia, which was founded for freed American slaves. Melville B. Cox died four months after he arrived in Africa, but the missionary’s legacy lives on in the United Methodist Church’s […]

Victorious Malaria Campaign

By Crystal Caviness and Barbara Dunlap-Berg- “Our God is able!” Celebrating the success of the Imagine No Malaria initiative, launched in 2008, speakers, singers, and dancers offered even more for United Methodists attending General Conference 2016 to imagine – Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children. “Health is the ultimate design of God for humanity,” said […]

Rejecting Rule 44

By Walter Fenton- Every legislative body, especially one as large and diverse as the United Methodist Church’s General Conference, needs a set of rules to govern its proceedings. Charged with the task of presiding over the conference’s plenary sessions, UM bishops can attest that it is hard enough with rules. Without them the sessions would […]

Deliver Us From Evil

By Tamica Smith Jeuitt- “If you are going to go, there is a shadow figure that follows you also. You need to know that while you go, evil is going also,” Bishop James Swanson Sr. told the delegates to General Conference. The Mississippi Episcopal Area bishop said that those living out the General Conference theme […]

Pentecost at the Crossroads

By Steve Beard- “The United Methodist Church is at a crossroads,” Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa told the more than 500 assembled for the African Worship Service on Pentecost Sunday at the 2016 General Conference held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. Nhiwatiwa welcomed the international congregation and made it clear that the church in Africa […]

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