Saturday was the Last Day of Legislative Committees, where groups solidified the petitions that will be placed on the Consent Calendar, rejected and brought to the floor.
The Biggest News of Saturday was the debacle of the IOT; the inability to get Plan B to the floor of the Plenary. The debacle that became the General Administration Legislative Session that produced not one single plan to take to the floor, is too big to be laid at any single individual’s feet. The IOT didn’t strategize well, and the authors of Plan B understood the feeling of exclusion that IOT left their audience with and used it to their advangtage. It was a tactic that backfired when it got to the small committee assigned to ‘tweak’ it. The Methodist Federation for Social Action seemed to find themselves overwhelmed and ill-prepared. They added all their amendments without the numbers, the facts, and most of all the implications of what their changes to Plan B would mean financially. With each amendment they made, each victory they thought they won, they were not aware that they were creating a document that was too complex, too fiscally bloated to ever get out of the subcommittee. In the end, conversation seemed to break down as the tension between US juridictions and Central Conferences got more intense, and the representatives of the Interim Operations Team spent much of Saturday abstaining. They had already made it clear that they were going for a minority report that would broker some kind of compromise.
At the end of the night, with a few key mistakes in parliamentary procedure, we found ourselves as a church with no plan to bring to the floor, and no plan for which to write a minority report. It was dramatic, disappointing, and very honestly, surprising as we consider how much momentum there was leading up to this General Conference around this issue.
Sunday (Day Six), many of our delegation members went to area churches to hear Bishops preach, or took a much-needed Sabbath rest from the week’s work. We had a plenary worship Sunday night, featuring witness and testimony from ministries happening in the United Methodist Church in various parts of our global connection.