Liminal Space – Saturday
Hi friends -
Me again – you may have to personally bug your favorite delegate for a blog entry. They’re in the thick of it now, especially since several are in leadership positions.
If you’re following the twitter feed or Daily Christian Advocates, you’ll have seen some of these updates. Quick review with some personal comments:
* This just in: In Church & Society B – where Molly Vetter is the chair, the subcommittee has voted NOT to remove “incompatible with Christian teaching”. There are hundreds of GLBT advocates here praying and demonstrating for this change. A lot of disappointment, as you can imagine. The committee still has to vote, as does the plenary ….. I’m sure there will be a minority report.
* Leanne Nakanishi (our Conference UMW President) is on alert since a petition allowing “other women’s groups” has passed subcommittee with the support of Renew – the women’s arm of the conservative voices in our UMC.
* No use reporting on the state of the restructuring. The Call to Action/IOT proposal was displaced by Plan B as the foundational document, and now the MFSA ideas on board membership have been incorporated. Leanne has to keep track of all of this for the whole world as the GA Secretary, so I doubt we’ll hear much from her!
* Mark Stephenson – Reserve Lay Delegate from Hollywood 1st – has a lot to say about how the conversation on homosexuality went in yesterday’s Local Church conversation. Local Church was dealing with numerous petitions looking for ways to reprise the “all means all” conversation about membership. You’ll remember that “all means all” was circulated to conferences as a potential constitutional amendment, and it failed. Those of you saddened by that will also be saddened to know that the selected petition (21079 –LC Eligibility Criteria for Membership) has failed in committee.
Mark was dismayed to hear voices still talking about welcoming GLBT people “so that Christ can change them.” The Holy Spirit prompted him to stand by the door and hand out 35 Hollywood 1st business cards.
* Norma Kehrberg (1st Lay Reserve Delegate) was called in yesterday to an emergency “occupy” action when pro-life advocate observers were present in a number that seemed to be squelching honest debate.
* Tonya Harris reports this morning that Financial Administration has decided to recommend a modified CRSP version of our pension plan. OK, I’m not the pension expert, and I don’t know what the amendment is, but this plan reduces the defined benefit (since we can’t fund that as a denomination in perpetuity), asks for some matching contribution from clergy, and if the clergy puts in 1%, keeps the church’s contribution (matching and non-matching) at 3%. If the clergy doesn’t contribute, the church puts in 2%. Everybody got that? Don’t worry – it’ll probably change again anyway.
Maybe you’d be more interested to know that the conversation in Financial Administration has been moderate and functional. We guess those are the sorts of people who self-select Financial Administration.
* Cedric has been in Judicial Administration, working in alliance with Southern delegates (yes, really) to remove officiating same-sex unions as a chargeable offense. No success yet. In fact the twitter feeds this morning suggest that things are going against this alliance. The room was full – couldn’t get in as an observer.
* I did get into Faith & Order (where Tricia Farris is our delegate) in time to see the Social Principles put into the category of Discipline sections to be considered in a 2nd volume – good news! You may know that the Worldwide Nature of the Church study has proposed a 2 Discipline system: 1 for the worldwide church that could only be changed at General Conference, and 2nd volumes for Central Conferences – of which the US would become one in this plan. The next four years would be spent discussing all of this in our Conferences.
* CST seems to be doing fine – delegates holding strong against various angry petitions to remove its official Methodist designation and funding, to monitor its curriculum, etc.
* Ministry & Higher Ed (where Tom Choi is serving) has voted to end guaranteed appointments. We’ll have to hear more from Tom. I know the details of the proposal, but not the details of the discussion.
* Ok, but I’m still sitting in the room with Church & Society A, which is composed of many passionate advocates for issues. So you’d think they’d be passionately discussing issues, but mostly they bog down in procedural issues.
However, once they do vote, they vote to keep our strong peacemaking stance. They have voted against attempts to remove our anti-death penalty stance. They have not been tempted in the least to get excited about teaching “intelligent design” in schools, and a few voices have been intentional about sanding down some of the rawer edges on our Israel/Palestine statements so that we’ll still be able to talk to our friends the rabbis when this is over. We are still strongly against illegal settlements and set our faces to work for justice in concert with our Palestinian Christian friends. The divestment resolution is in Financial Administration – not discussed yet.
It’s tedious and slow-going work – keep up your prayers and support for your delegation.
Grace and peace,