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Special Michigan AC called in March

Members to vote in Special Session

A special session of the Michigan Annual Conference is being called on March 7, 2020, by Bishop David Bard, to consider forwarding Protocol legislation on to the 2020 General Conference.

Goodrich Chapel site of Special Session
Goodrich Chapel, on the campus of Albion College, will be the gathering place for the special session of the Michigan Annual Conference on March 7, 2020. ~ mic photo/Mark Doyal

February 5, 2020 | LANSING MI — Bishop David Bard today issued a call for a special session of the Michigan Annual Conference to consider sending Protocol legislation to General Conference. The special session will be held on Saturday, March 7, 2020, 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm at Goodrich Chapel on the campus of Albion College in Albion, Michigan. Albion College is a United Methodist-affiliated institution. 

On January 3, 2020, a diverse, 16-member group of United Methodist bishops and other leaders offered a proposal that would preserve The United Methodist Church while allowing traditionalist-minded congregations to form a new denomination. The separating group would receive $25 million in United Methodist funds and would keep its local church properties. The proposal has since been developed into legislation that on March 7th The Michigan Conference will consider sending to the 2020 General Conference.

Under the rules of The Michigan Conference, general conference legislation is not amendable, so Annual Conference members at the special session will vote to send, or not to send, the legislation brought before them, as is, for action at the 2020 General Conference. It will be Michigan’s eight delegates to GC2020 who will be among those voting on the substance of the protocol and other legislation that comes before the body in Minneapolis, May 5-15.

In his monthly blog, Bishop Bard said, “Michigan United Methodists gathered for this special session of annual conference will decide if we want to serve the wider church by forwarding this legislation. Delegates to General Conference will decide what to do with the legislation.” He added, “I am calling our annual conference into special session because I believe in this liminal season, the delegates to General Conference need the opportunity to consider every good option for the future of our church.”

“I believe the Holy Spirit was at work within the Mediation Team, and we cannot ignore the difficult work they did together. The Protocol deserves to be addressed by the General Conference and the Michigan Conference can help make that happen,” commented 2020 Michigan Delegation Co-Chair Laura Witkowski. She added, “We are not the body to determine the final outcome of the Protocol, we are the vehicle to get it to the table. What a blessing it is for the Michigan Conference to lead in this way.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Tom Anderson, President of the Michigan Chapter of the Wesleyan Covenant Association. He said, “I support holding of a special session of the Michigan Annual Conference. Michigan has the chance to open the door towards a civil, sober and hopeful future for the people called United Methodist. Let us all fast and pray for a day of new beginnings.”

A representative of the North Central Jurisdiction Mission Council, Alex Plum, also supports a special session saying, “Whatever one may think of the Protocol as a strategy, I believe it deserves to be heard on the floor in Minneapolis.” Plum continued, “The Michigan Annual Conference has a unique opportunity to offer servant leadership to the church by making a way for the Protocol’s consideration. Come, Holy Spirit, come.”

The members of this special session of the Michigan Annual Conference will be all the clergy members of the conference along with the lay members or alternates who were last seated at the 2019 Annual Conference.  

Online registration for the special session will begin on Monday, February 10th at 2020.MichiganUMC.org. Members must register online by Monday, March 2, 2020. No on-site registration will be available.

Additional information may be found in this pdf of the  FAQ. For a web version of the FAQ, click here.

The language Michigan members will vote on at the March 7th session will be sent after the 2020 Michigan Delegation meets in mid-February.   

~ portions of a UM News story by Sam Hodges were included in this story.

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