Rev. Gary Mueller newest Bishop in the SCJ

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The Rev. Cynthia Harvey elected as Bishop in SCJ

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Updates on SCJ Committee on Episcopacy

To see an update of the South Central Jurisdiction’s Committee on Episcopacy’s decision on Bishop Bledsoe, visit this press release.

See what goes on a Bishop’s Report Card here.

The Evaluative Tool for Bishops in the South Central Jurisdiction can be found here.

Please continue to pray for our United Methodist Church, and the delegations that will be hard at work this week on lifting up our new leaders.

Peace to all,


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Judicial Council Decision

Here’s the text if you’re interested…

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Plan UMC: Restructure

It was just announced, by the authority of the Judicial Council of the UMC, that the Plan UMC Restructure proposal is unconstitutional. They ruled that the plan delegated too much authority to the General Council on Strategy and Oversight. More details to come…

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Plan UMC Chart

Check out one version of the Plan UMC Chart here.

The whole text of the restructuring plan we are debating can be found here.

The Restructure proposal was approved by a slight margin at around Noon today, pending review from General Commission on Finance and Administration and Constitutional Review.

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General Conference: Day Eight

Today, we heard an interpretive report from the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits. We were reminded of the Defined Benefit Plan that is presently in place for Annual conferences, which includes lifetime clergy income, and provides both longevity and investment risk are held by the Conference.

The two plans before us for our consideration as a body are:
1) Combined Defined Benefit/Defined Contribution: It is a reduced version of the current pension plan, but with .25% reduced benefits for the clergyperson over time (1.25% yield to 1%). This plan continues lifetime clergy benefit (maintains greater connection).
2)Defined contribution only: Would be an individual clergy account. This plan is said to mitigate long-time costs by providing more predictable costs, with distribution options. In this proposal, there is lower Conference liability, but the Clergy bears risks with no lifetime clergy benefit.

Continue reading

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UMC Shifts: Guaranteed Appointment

The elimination of guaranteed appointment was approved this morning on the consent calendar with no discussion or debate. The reconsideration of this petition that was passed by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry failed with 373 voting yes and 514 voting no. There were mixed reactions from the floor when I talked with delegates during break: some believed that this shift in our church was so crucial that it deserved conversation from the whole body instead of one isolated committee, and yet there were others that trusted the decisive vote of the committee and accepted it as an expected result.

In watching Twitter feeds, young clergy were largely supportive of the move, particularly considering the added amendments that increase protections and transparency to guard against discrimination of Cabinets and Bishops when choosing to appoint or not appoint clergy in each Annual Conference.

Here’s a more comprehensive reflection on it from a young clergywoman from the South Central Jurisdiction:

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General Conference: Day Seven

And so it begins…

Early yesterday (Monday) morning, we began plenary for General Conference, considering the petitions that have been approved by each legislative committee. We started off with Superintendency, considering a set-aside bishop petition. It was voted down, at the disappointment of many on the Council of Bishops, who were largely supportive of this change.

We then debated a petition on tenure for bishops (DCA 2109), which needed a two-thirds vote, and received a vote of 50.5% Yes, and 49.5% no. The overwhelming support of this petition signals a shift in the understanding of Episcopacy in our Church–certainly something to expect coming back to the General Conference for consideration in four years.

Conferences and General Administration presented a joint petition to equalize the representation of US and Central Conferences on the Commission of General Conference, along with electing representatives to Judicial Council and University Senate. We were informed that a collaborative group from the General Administration committee had come to a consensus about a plan to bring to the body, and the permission to publish that plan was granted by the plenary session. We will be able to read through this plan today (Tuesday), and will most likely begin legislative work on it at earliest, Wednesday morning (it needs to be in front of the body for at least 24 hours for consideration.) At the end of the day’s plenary, we finished 14% of our legislative work. Still a long way to go.

Your Louisiana delegation had dinner at the end of the day with Bishop Hutchinson, Kay Hutchinson, and many others that are working on General Conference staff this time around. We went then to worship, where we celebrated the journey we are all on together to share goals as Annual Conferences to work for vital congregations in the next quadrennia.

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Alston addresses General Conference

Ellen Alston addresses the General Conference as the chair of the Superintendency Committee on Monday morning. The body is now hearing debate about the possibility of a set-aside bishop, along with amendments about allowing the General Conference to vote on a set-aside bishop from a group of three nominees that the General Conference designates.

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