General Conference Halftime Report// M-Note 4.27.24

I am in Charlotte, NC at the United Methodist Church’s long delayed General Conference. This is the legislative body that gathers every 4 years (except for COVID) and decides church law in our denomination. I am one of 6 clergy delegates from Missouri and joining about 750 delegates from all over the world.
The last several years have been difficult for our denomination. More conservative churches (traditionalists) have left the denomination over concerns that our church is welcoming LGBTQ people in ways they disagree with. Churches like The Gathering continue to work for a church that passionately follows Jesus and fully welcomes LGBTQ people into all levels of participation. I have been working for this kind of church my entire career, but as of yet, our official denominational stances have not changed. They still represent a traditional viewpoint of marriage and ordination.
I came into this General Conference joining many others from around the world with 3 broad hopes – remove harmful anti-LGBTQ language from our official discipline thus allowing gay people to be married and ordained in our denomination, revise our social principles to be simpler and more relevant for the world we live in, and regionalize our structure so that the church in different regions of the world can make decisions that are sensible for their context. If successful, the United Methodist Church would be more open, more relevant, and better positioned to reach people for Jesus all around the world.
While we are only half-way through the conference, I am thrilled to report that so far, all three of these objectives are finding broad support and associated legislation is passing through committees. It is not final yet, but I am extremely hopeful that we will make history at this conference, and finally change some of the long-standing obstacles to the full participation of all people. Additionally, there is a spirit of thoughtful conversation, thoughtful debate, and respect across differences that is a marked departure from past conferences.
There is still another week to go so please continue to pray for me (and my back in these chairs!). We work long days, but I am so hopeful about the future of United Methodism, and proud that our church gets to be a leader in it. If you want to check out my daily updates, head over to my public facebook page, Pastor Matt Miofsky. I am so grateful to be your pastor, and thank you for your support of me as I work on our behalf here at General Conference.
Even though I am here in Charlotte, I will also be THERE at The Gathering this weekend to finish our series, Screen Time: Troubleshooting our Relationship with Technology. I hope you will join me in person or online.

P.S. Some of you have asked about my friend Ben. I met him my first night in Charlotte and have eaten a few meals with him as we have talked about life, forgiveness, and the hope of living in a new way. Ben is unhoused, and has asked for prayer. I told him that not only would I pray for him, but my church would as well. Please keep Ben in your prayers for me.
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