General Conference 2024

May 10, 2022

 

Dear Church Family,

I wish to take a moment to address the delay of the United Methodist General Conference until 2024, as well as the formation of the new split-off denomination, the Global Methodist Church (GMC).  I hope this letter will be the beginning of renewed dialogue and prayer for us as a church as we navigate our way forward at this time in history.

 

As I mentioned previously, I believe our work together is always best to focus on our mission before us, which is “to make disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world.”  With much before us at this juncture: pandemic recovery, weakened attendance/participation in church, instability in the economy, increasing political polarization, the reality of poverty and homelessness locally, the war in Ukraine, and so much more, our work is urgent.  The world needs Jesus Christ, and I believe, as our church Discipline states, that the local church is the greatest means to connect people to Jesus.  Therefore, at this time, we must all lean in and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance to remain relevant and faithful to our calling.

 

We must do this in the light of a delayed General Conference, which many hoped would offer a resolution to our denomination’s division over marriage and ordination of LGBTQ+ individuals.  The delay sparked the formation of the GMC as a “traditionalist” denomination, which many fear will bleed people and financial resources from our beloved UMC. The GMC began officially on May 1, 2022.  In response, our bishop and her cabinet have worked to allow an exit process for churches seeking to leave soon.  In their plan, a special session of the Virginia Annual Conference will be held for this in October 2022.

 

I know for some these events sound very confusing.  Currently, things are complex for the UMC. Moreover, the hierarchical way denominations work complicates the matter. Our church works within a process of governing that are very much akin to and were modeled after the US governmental structure.  So, delegate voting and alignment of the process can take much time, particularly when we are divided, and when we maintain a commitment to working as a worldwide church in the reality of an ongoing pandemic.

 

With all this, I mentioned before, in my previous letter about the UMC’s General Conference, that our FUMC Church Council delegated the work to review the news and effects of General Conference proceedings to a group now known as the “General Conference Committee” in the fall of last year.  This group has been meeting since November and sharing information about their work back with our Church Council.

 

The Church Council has approved the attached documents provided by the Committee to help begin an information-sharing process and to raise congregational awareness about all that is before the United Methodist Church at this time.  It is the hope of our church leadership that will we continue our work on behalf of Jesus Christ in this place, not getting distracted as the GMC works to gain membership, and that we will be strong as our UMC denomination weathers change. 

 

The members of the General Conference Committee at FUMC are;  Bob Pickett, facilitator; Gina Anderson-Cloud, lead pastor; Josh Hagstrom, associate pastor; Katherine Counsell; Mark Earnesty; Joelle Gotwals; Mona Lamb; George Long; Paul Prewitt; Florence Ridderhof; Martha Sheffield; Mike Sienkowski; and Carrie Szlyk.  You may contact the group with questions or concerns at:

 

This new/refreshed section of the website will provide information about the current status of General Conference 2024 and our church’s work to communicate and discern in response.  This group expects to provide ongoing information following the VA Annual Conference in June, which will include some group gatherings and times to share information and answer questions at FUMC.  The General Conference Committee is not a decision-making body.  It is simply working as a resource group to help the Church Council and pastors navigate through this time within the UMC and provide a means of communication to the congregation, a place/face to ask questions and seek information. 

 

Please look at these attached three documents that provide further information as it currently stands.

Announcement of the GC24 Workgroup 

FAQ's for the General Conference Committee  

Entering Into Discernment As the Body of Christ and As Individuals

 

Updates will be on this webpage. 

 Thank you for your dedication to the Body of Christ here at Fredericksburg UMC. 
I believe that God has great plans in store for us into the future.
Please join me in fervent prayer for our ministries and the church leadership as we move forward together.

 

Grace and peace,

 

Rev. Gina Anderson-Cloud

Lead Pastor

 

5/11/2022
FROM THE RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER DISTRICT:

With the further postponement of the General Conference session to 2024, Virginia Conference clergy and lay members have questions:

What does this mean for the mission of the Church and my local Church?
What does this mean for ongoing questions concerning full Inclusion of persons who are LGBTQ+ in the Church?

You are invited to a presentation of current information on topics including General Conference and disaffiliation from the denomination. The presentation will begin with a brief reminder of The United Methodist Church’s Wesleyan heritage and focus on the future of our United Methodist local churches who remain the vital and vibrant core of our denomination and disciple-making in the Commonwealth and around the world. There will be space for questions related to any of these topics.

This presentation was created by Team Jeremiah, whose goal is to develop and implement proactive strategies for the Virginia Annual Conference to help address the uncertainties surrounding the General Conference session. The Rev. Denise Bates, Dean of the Cabinet, will share this presentation with us.

Please join us at Tappahannock Memorial UMC, 345 Earl Street, Tappahannock, VA on Sunday, May 15 at 5:00pm.

This event is open to all Rappahannock River District Laity and Clergy.

Registration is required.

Click here to register for May 15 Team Jeremiah event
 

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