Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau
TAMPA -- Remember these words: "adaptive," "missional" and "challenge." This vocabulary from the earliest sessions of the Pre-General Conference Briefing bodes to shape the conversation around major changes in The United Methodist Church.
Today's sessions focused on:
* Recommendations from the Ministry Study to eliminate guaranteed appointment for clergy, to streamline the ordination process and to disconnect ordination from annual conference membership.
* A proposal to have a bishop relieved of responsibilities for an annual conference during a four-year term as president of the Council of Bishops, so that he or she can serve as the single recognized head of communion.
* The background for a proposed Act of Repentance related to Methodist involvement in oppression of native peoples around the world.
Two other words have predominated during the first day of work.
One of them, prayer, was the focus of a sermon by the Rev. Tom Albin of Upper Room Ministries. The Prayer Initiative fostered by Upper Room has been in gear for more than a year now, with groups of people around the denomination praying for the 2012 General Conference delegates. Albin told UM Insight that a Florida Conference group is creating prayer scarves for the 988 delegates at the 2012 session so that the church's global decision-makers will feel wrapped in prayer during their deliberations.
The other word was not spoken, but was evident in all the day's proceedings organized by United Methodist Communications: transparency. As this post is written, Diane Degnan of UMCom's Public Information Team is teaching a roomful of delegates how to share the stories of General Conference to United Methodists in pew and pulpit. Ms. Degnan particularly emphasizes the widespread influence of social media on church communications such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Longer news reports on the substance of topic sessions will be posted after the event concludes. Friday's schedule focuses almost entirely on the Call to Action, featuring both proponents and opponents of the proposed restructuring of the denomination.
Remember "adaptive," "missional" and "challenge."