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To meet or not to meet?

Should the bishops call a special session of General Conference?

All across the United Methodist Church, concerned members are calling for a special session of the General Conference to be called by the bishops in light of the pledge of more than 120 UM clergypersons to continue performing homosexual marriages.

Some opponents of such a call have complained that it would cost simply too much money to host a special session. Quite honestly, this issue is so explosive that United Methodism cannot afford to wait for the year 2000 to meet at General Conference.

The undeniable truth is that our denomination has plenty of money to take care of such a gathering. After all, the General Board of Global Ministries—which includes the Women’s Division and the National Division—had more than $355.8 million in net assets in 1996.

Although a General Conference is expensive, there are very simple ways to cut costs in this particular case.

  • The special session will only deal with one issue—homosexual unions—and therefore will only need to be a two-day event.
  • By meeting in a large UM church that could seat at least 3,000 people, the denomination would not need to rent a convention center or other big-ticket items such as sound equipment, chairs, etc.
  • The speedy resolution of this issue is so important to rank-and-file United Methodists that local congregations would be more than willing to pay for delegates to make the trip.
  • If the General Conference were held in a big city like Dallas, Houston, or Atlanta, delegates could very easily stay in the homes of local United Methodist for the brief gathering.
  • We would not need to have electronic voting for such an event because this is the kind of issue that delegates should publicly stand up and vote their conscience.

-- Good News

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