Every four years United Methodists delegates from all around the world meet to discuss the legislation and direction of the denomination. The people at the conference vote on official matters for the 13 million member United Methodist church.Today, I spoke with Gere Reist, Secretary of the General Conference about the importance of the conference and what it means to be a global church.
General Conference used to meet for a month-long session to decide upon church issues. At that time only 200 people attended and they were all white, American males. Today, General Conference meets with roughly 1,000 delegates of women and men from all across the globe. Yet, they only meet for ten days. It is difficult to discuss all of the issues in such a short time and for everyone to feel that they had a chance to voice their opinion, he said. Yet, even if large structural and social changes do not get passed, General Conference is still a success he said. It is the only time that members of the United Methodist church from all parts of the world get together and exchange ideas. That in itself holds a lot of value.
Stay tuned for more insights from the Secretary of the General Conference in an upcoming Susquehanna Xpress.