May-June 2012

Editorial: Exasperation and Frustration in Tampa

By Rob Renfroe
Bring 1000 delegates together from all over the world. Spend more than $8 million. And meet for nearly two weeks and what do you get? Not much. General Conference 2012 will be remembered as the time that The United Methodist Church admitted many of its problems, stood on the threshold of opportunity, and failed to do anything about it.

The Laity Address: The Joy of Jesus

My name is Betty Spiwe Katiyo. I am from Harare, Zimbabwe, on the continent of Africa. And by the grace of God, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I am privileged and honored to be chosen as the first lay speaker from the central conferences to address the whole church. Praise be to God!

Pain and Protest: A Good News Commentary

For ten previous General Conferences (1972-2008), the issue of homosexuality has absorbed increased time and energy and caused deep division in the church. This General Conference was the eleventh such time. Veterans of previous General Conferences come prepared for the drumbeats of protest, the rainbow stoles designating “us vs. them,” and the tears that accompany the vote of the General Conference. Although we do not agree with those who would change United Methodism’s stance on homosexuality, we do not take their tears lightly.

Reaffirming the United Methodist view on marriage and sexuality

Commentary by Rob Renfroe
United Methodists have reaffirmed 2000 years of Christian teaching regarding sexuality. This is the same view held by the most rapidly growing parts of the church today. And it is the only view that will hold The United Methodist Church together.

Once again, United Methodism retains its stance on human sexuality

In the midst of vocal protests, silent demonstrations, and the most expensive and elaborate pro-homosexual lobbying effort ever rolled out for a United Methodist General Conference, delegates in Tampa retained the denomination’s historic view on marriage and sexuality. On Thursday, May 3, delegates to the 2012 General Conference in Tampa rejected two amendments to the United Methodist Social Principles that would have declared that the global denomination holds two different views regarding “whether homosexual practice is contrary to the will of God.”

Episcopal Address: Resurrection Revolution

By Linda Bloom
Five African teenage refugees who survived a massacre and committed to a new life in Christ as they were baptized in a chilly New Hampshire river are part of what United Methodist Bishop Peter Weaver calls a “resurrection revolution.” Delivering the Episcopal Address to the 2012 General Conference, Weaver pointed out that New Testament scholar N.T. Wright called the mission of the church the “outworking” of resurrection.

The Renewal and Reform Coalition in Tampa

General Conference 2012 gathered in Tampa, and Good News staff, board members, and associates convened to take part in the quadrennial proceedings. Fielding a team of more than 30 volunteers, The Renewal and Reform Coalition was comprised of Lifewatch, The Confessing Movement, Transforming Congregations, UM Action, the Renew Women’s Network, and Good News.

Good Ship UMC Run Aground in Tampa?

By Timothy W. Whitaker
The theme of worship at the 2012 General Conference was “Discipleship by the Sea.” The Scripture readings and sermons were those about Jesus at the shoreline calling his disciples to follow him. This was an apt theme for a conference held on the shore of Tampa Bay.

Retired bishops call for homosexual ordination

By Jeff Walton
The United Methodist Church should revoke its policy of not ordaining actively practicing homosexual persons, according to two retired bishops who spoke during an April 26 press conference at the denomination’s convention in Tampa, Florida. Retired Bishops Donald Ott and Sharon Zimmerman Rader were referencing an earlier statement signed by 36 bishops, most of whom are also retired.

The Change We Couldn’t Believe In

Analysis by Thomas A. Lambrecht
Coming into General Conference 2012, the biggest item on everyone’s agenda was the proposal to restructure the general church. After two weeks of disagreement, drama, and negotiation, after the dust settled, our church structure is basically the same as it was. How did that happen?