United Methodist News Service Photo by Mike DuBose
Political RealitiesDelegates to the 2008 General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.
General Conference delegates from the Arkansas Annual Conference posted a statement of principles March 27 that they intend to use in their decision-making process when The United Methodist Church's global legislative assembly meets April 24-May 4 in Tampa, Florida.
While other annual conferences, such as Wisconsin, have issued statements pertaining to specific issues, the Arkansas statement represents one of the few to express a set of values that its delegates intend to guide their decisions. The statement follows.
Arkansas Delegation Statement
At its March 24th meeting the Arkansas Delegation unanimously adopted the following statement regarding the upcoming General Conference.
The Arkansas delegation agrees that The United Methodist Church must change in spirit and structure in order to fulfill its mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World. We recognize there are several plans being proposed to move us forward in our mission. As General Conference works its way through these plans we commit ourselves to these principles:
- delving more deeply in Scripture and prayer to discern God’s will for The United Methodist Church.
- spiritually seeking and exercising more faith to follow God’s will.
- creating more vital congregations and local ministries because that is where the making of disciples of Jesus Christ primarily occurs.
- recruiting and training more young and diverse leadership, lay and clergy.
- simplifying our structure for adaptive change in fulfilling our mission while maintaining appropriate and ethical checks and balances.
- including gender, age, racial and ethnic diversity in decision making positions.
We know that no one can predict with confidence the full impact of any of the proposed changes but we also believe that if we do nothing or only make minor changes our beloved Church will continue to decline, losing its own vitality and weaken in its world-wide witness. We believe God still has a plan and a role for The United Methodist Church in the world, and we pledge ourselves to discovering and fulfilling God’s purposes for our Church. We ask our sisters and brothers across the connection to be in prayer with us and for us in this time of obedience and discernment.
Christ above all.