Following much discussion and clarification about when congregations should begin their discernment processes, with help from conference resource leaders, the resolution passed by 410 to 77 votes.
The “Building Fellowship in the Face of Division” resolution (#2022-09) called on the conference to create opportunities for fellowship and dialogue among groups and churches about “Our Different Viewpoints on Human Sexuality” among over the next two years.
“Our purpose is to build trust and understanding by listening and hearing one another one on one,” said the Rev. Tim Anderman, who presented the resolution. While he acknowledged that some have tired of talking, he recommended sharing personal stories that might shed light on perspectives about “homosexuality in our churches and denomination.” His resolution passed 327 to 109.
Bishop Schol ruled out of order resolution #2022–10 which called for “Clarity and Transparency for Congregations Transferring or Disaffiliating in the Eastern PA Conference. He referred to episcopal responsibilities outlined in the UMC’s constitution and recent Judicial Council rulings to support his action. While another conference member asked the body to challenge his parliamentary decision, the vote did not sustain that motion.
Other resolutions were approved by large margins, including:
- Rental Housing Allowance for Retired or Disabled Clergy.
- Adoption of Clergy Retirement Security Program.
- Advance Specials, which was expanded to add the Path Towards Wholeness initiative for second-mile Advance funding support.
- Equitable Compensation.
- The Committee on Leadership Nomination Report.
- Two recently closed churches’ discontinuances: Philadelphia: St. Thomas UMC of the Frankford Group Ministry; and Shamokin: Zion UMC.
Also, approved was a report from the EPA delegation to General Conference, given by Judy Ehninger, that the delegation interviewed one prospective candidate for the episcopacy but did not endorse that person. And the conference approved the proposed 2023 EPA budget and elected William Thompson as the new Conference Lay Leader.
Among the numerous videos shown were the annual Harry Denman, Herbert E. Palmer and One Matters awards presentations, as well as the Leadership Ministries Report, presented by the Connectional Ministries Office. Another video featured recent scholarship recipients to support the annual offering to fund higher education scholarships. Offerings were also received for clergy education through the Board of Ordained Ministry and Conference Youth and Young Adult Ministries.
Worship anchored each day’s session proceedings. The Rev. Hector Burgos, a district superintendent in the Greater New Jersey Conference preached on Friday during the annual Memorial Service for deceased clergy and clergy spouses. And Bishop Schol preached at Saturday’s closing Service of Ordination and Commissioning of Clergy.