Statement Regarding the Postponement of UMC General Conference

Pastor Rob Hamilton

If you are one to follow United Methodist news, you’ve likely heard that the 2020 session of the General Conference has been postponed until 2024, that there will not be a 2024 General Conference, and 2028 will be the next General Conference. 

For those not sure what a General Conference is: “General Conference is the top policy-making body of The United Methodist Church. The assembly typically meets at the beginning of each quadrennium to consider revisions to church law, as well as adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy and economic issues. It also approves plans and budgets for church-wide programs for the next four years.”

Besides the important work of our church, many hoped the 2020 General Conference could be held as soon as possible to end the impasse on LGBTQIA+ inclusion through an ‘amicable denominational divorce’ in a mediated agreement called the “protocol for grace and reconciliation through separation.

I recognize the news of this postponement is disappointing on many levels, especially for those who feel like their church has left them and particularly for those who are harmed by the positions of our UM Book of Discipline and Social Principles. For those who experience this disappointment as spiritual pain, know that your pastors care for you and are here to support you.   

Some may wonder, so where does that leave us at the United Methodist Church of Geneva? To quote our interim Bishop, Rev. John L. Hopkins, “God does not stop working when we cannot gather at a General Conference and neither should we.” At UMCG, we are still a church with open hearts, minds and doors where all are loved and all are welcome. We need to continue to be a church that seeks to live into its values and repent when we fail to do so. To quote Bishop Hopkins further, “in the meantime, keep thinking globally and acting locally to serve Jesus and his Church. Use this Lenten Season to focus on what is most important and pray for peace.” 

We are going to continue to be about the work of Jesus and his church by making and nurturing disciples of Jesus Christ who serve the community and the world in all the ways unique to our call at the United Methodist Church of Geneva. Whether the General Conference convened this summer, last summer or will convene in two summers our mission and urgency to be about our mission does not change. Nor does it change that you are loved, all are loved and all are welcome at the United Methodist Church of Geneva. Nor does it change my commitment to the full inclusion of all persons into the United Methodist Church.