February 24, 2019
GC2019 opens in prayer, but legislating to follow

Nearly 900 United Methodists from around the globe settled into their highly secured meeting venue in St. Louis, Mo., on Saturday, Feb. 23, for the four-day Special Session of General Conference to decide together the future of their denomination. Eight Eastern PA Conference delegates, plus two alternates, were among them.

While the venue, known as The Dome at America’s Center, once housed an indoor football stadium for the former St. Louis Rams, the goal of this gathering was to choose among several competing denominational plans while avoiding the competitive, bittersweet syndrome of winners and losers. Thus, the entire first day was devoted to inspirational, collective prayers, enriched by heartfelt testimony, Holy Communion and soul-lifting music sung in multiple languages. Learn more...

Sweet hours of prayer begin GC2019
ST. LOUIS (UMNS) — United Methodists from all points of the globe spent six hours praying for the church before beginning the 2019 General Conference’s hard work of reviewing church policy regarding homosexuality. After supporters of changing those policies raised concerns, the second half of the program began with an emotional call to pray for “our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.” Kathy L. Gilbert reports.  Read story

Court Rules two GC2019 petitions unconstitutional
T wo General Conference 2019 petitions related to potential plans for the future of the UMC have been declared unconstitutional by the denomination’s top court. The Council of Bishops requested a ruling from the Judicial Council Feb. 22.
Petition 90052 is unconstitutional, the court said in Decision 1375 “because it infringes upon the right of the annual conference to vote on all matters relating to the character and conference relations of its clergy members.” A second petition, Petition 90078, is unconstitutional because it would create a global episcopacy committee, the decision said. That petition is part of the Modified Traditional Plan.  Learn more…

Good News GC2019 breakfast draws big crowd
ST. LOUIS (UMNS) — A larger-than-expected crowd turned out for a breakfast meeting hosted by Good News, an unofficial traditionalist advocacy group, on the first day of the special General Conference. Sam Hodges and Heather Hahn have the story.  Read story

LGBTQ voices heard at pre-GC event
ST. LOUIS (UMNS) — As the opening of the 2019 General Conference loomed, a handful of openly gay delegates talked about legislation and more with fellow allies of full inclusion for LGBTQ people in The United Methodist Church. Sam Hodges reports.  Read story

GC2019: Day of Prayer in pictures
ST. LOUIS (UMNS) — The special General Conference began with a daylong session of prayer that honored The United Methodist Church’s worldwide connection. United Methodist News Service photographers captured the images of the day.  View photos

Ways to follow what’s happening at GC2019
ST. LOUIS (UMC.org) — United Methodist Communications is livestreaming proceedings at the special General Conference in English, French and American Sign Language. The stream at  umc.org/live  will include all open sessions when the lawmaking assembly meets Feb. 23-26. Visual learners also can view a chart that offers an overview of four main plans under consideration.