At the 2004 General Conference of the United Methodist Church in Pittsburgh demonstrators shattered a communion chalice protesting the exclusion of practicing LGBTQ persons from ministry and marriage in the UMC.  A dozen years later, as we gather in Portland, Oregon for General Conference that broken cup remains a powerful reminder of the widening fissure in the United Methodist Church.

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Six Proposals

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Proposal #1

Regarding just resolution, the current practice of allowing the counsel for the church to enter into a just resolution with the respondent without the participation or agreement of the complainant is unjust.

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Proposal #2

A just resolution must include an apology and a commitment to changed behavior in order to bring about healing and reconciliation. This language gives a minimum benchmark for honoring the Discipline’s requirements.

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Proposal #3

These changes enhance the accountability of bishops and increase consistency by lodging accountability in the global church.  They lodge all responsibility for handling complaints to clergy and laity who are not bishops removing any conflicts of interest involved.

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Proposal #4

Assigning a penalty of less than a suspension for a first offense or less than termination of conference membership and/or revocation of conference membership and ordination or consecration encourages open defiance.

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Proposal #5

Neither our covenant nor unity in the church can be coerced. The Church needs to value the consciences of our people and provide an honorable way for those whose consciences are violated to disaffiliate without the loss of property and in a ministry-affirming way.

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Proposal #6

This provision would reassure those who contemplate withdrawal that their pension benefit would not suffer due to withdrawal.  This language codifies what is already part of the current pension plan document.

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