Bishop Ough says Council of Bishops does not support split

Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the Council of Bishops, said the bishops are not supporting any plan for a split of The United Methodist Church, but admitted they are not fully united on how the church should go forward in the face of differences over full inclusion of LGBTQ people. (Read more)  

General Conference Reflections one week into the experience (May 16)

By the Rev. Kathy La Point-Collup   This morning I was struck by the incredible contrast between the inspiring and spirited messages of our Bishops, the love and justice oriented music presented in every genre possible, and what I have heard on the floor in legislative sections. Samples from our Bishops and musicians:  Mercy, not sacrifice; there should be no category of humanity declared incompatible with Christian teaching; all are invited to the great feast, no one is left out, won't you come...

The Body of Christ is in Pain

By the Rev. Elizabeth Brick   My sisters and brothers in Christ, "Pain is the doorway to the here and now. Physical or emotional pain is an ultimate form of ground, saying, to each of us, in effect, there is no other place than this place, no other body than this body, no other limb or joint or pang or sharpness or heartbreak but this searing presence." -David Whyte The Body of Christ is in pain. There is no other way to describe General Conference. By our action and through our inaction ...

Five elected to Judicial Council

United Methodists from Norway and Mozambique are among the new members of the denomination’s Judicial Council. Delegates to General Conference 2016 filled open positions for two clergy and three lay members on the nine-member council during elections on May 16. The new clergy members are the Rev. Øyvind Helliesen of Norway and the Rev. Luan-Vu Tran of Lakewood, California. Elected as lay members were Ruben Reyes of Manila, Philippines; Deanell Reese Tacha of Lawrence, Kansas, and Lídia Romão ...

GC2016 plenary pauses for Black Lives Matter demonstration

Chanting “Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter,” close to 150 United Methodists swarmed the plenary floor at General Conference May 16 to voice concern for the oppressed and marginalized. Clergy and lay men and women of all races — many wearing the rainbow stoles that signify full inclusion for LGBTQ — carried a banner proclaiming, “All #BlackLivesMatter: bisexual, transgender, poor, heterosexual, lesbian, gay, disabled, women, men, youth and children.” (Read More)  

Glide UMC Member Consecrated Deaconess

Robin Ridenour was among twenty-six deaconesses and home missioners who were consecrated this morning on the plenary floor of the United Methodist General Conference. Ridenour is a member of Glide UMC in San Francisco, California, and is a registered nurse anesthetist, Kaiser Permanente, and clinical coordinator for student nurse anesthetists. (Photos by the Rev. D J del Rosario) (Read More)  

Immigration rally calls for end to deportations

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — For United Methodists gathering for lunchtime witness on May 13 at the Oregon Convention Center plaza, the phrase "Stop deportations" was a rallying cry. As the Rev. Rosanna Panizo, academic dean of the Methodist seminary in Peru, pointed out, faith both inspires and demands that Methodists take a stand on immigration rights. Linda Bloom reports. Read story and post a comment  

Indigo Girls call on church to love, support all people

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Calling their concert "one big love-fest," indie folk rock duo the Indigo Girls headlined a Reconciling Ministries Network benefit concert May 13 during The United Methodist Church's General Conference. Jessica Brodie reports. Read blog  

Lack of youth delegates leaves General Conference commission slot unfilled

(Pictured, California-Nevada Reserve Delegate, Emily Bennett)   The lack of youth delegates among the 864 delegates to General Conference 2016 means that for the second time in a row, the commission that runs the denomination’s top legislative assembly won’t have a youth delegate. Only one voting delegate and one reserve delegate are 18. That makes both too old to serve on the Commission on General Conference as youth representatives, according to the Book of Discipline. (Read More)  

Laity urged to share Jesus with the world

Lay members of The United Methodist Church admonished their peers who are delegates to General Conference to remember that they share in the responsibility of making disciples of Jesus Christ in the world. The May 13 laity address included lay leaders from the Upper New York, Virginia, Missouri, Tennessee, Zimbabwe and Great Plains conferences, with each sharing a sense of urgency for the people in local churches around the world to do more to share the love and mercy available to all through ...

May 13 wrap-up: Laity address, State of the Church Report

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — After several days where General Conference delegates were clearly divided over Rule 44, on Day Four, they were urged repeatedly to work together, and shown examples of the good the church can do when it heeds that advice. In other news, demonstrations surrounding climate change, immigration and the church's stance on homosexuality were held. Joey Butler reports. Read story and post a comment

May 14 wrap-up: Sermon, protest, committee work

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Worship, an address by young people and a silent protest for LGBTQ inclusion began Day Five of General Conference 2016, which ended with final legislative committees. Barbara Dunlap-Berg has the story. Read story and post a comment  

Prayers, paper lanterns at climate vigil

In South Pacific island nations like Tonga, children are learning firsthand about the impact of global warming as they prepare for the reality that they eventually may have to evacuate their homes. “Some of them may be the last generation to grow up in some of these islands,” said the Rev. Ikani Fakasiieiki, an elder in the Methodist Church in Tonga who teaches religious studies at Eastern Washington University in the U.S. (Read more)  

Two ambassadors of God's love share young people's address

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — While only two young people spoke on the General Conference stage this morning, thousands more stood with them. Chelsea Spyres and Peter Cibuabua began their witness by identifying themselves as "ambassadors sharing young people's voices from around the world." Kay DeMoss reports on the young people's address. Read story and post a comment

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

By the Rev. Karen Oliveto   She stood before the microphone of our subcommittee and discussed her support of mandatory penalties for pastors who perform same-gender weddings. With trembling in her voice she said, “You know why we need this. It is because of actions in this very region of the church, all the misconduct with no consequences that goes on HERE!”   I pondered her statement in my heart for the next hour until our lunch break. We sat at table next to each other. As folks got up to ...

Digital Lounge: Bishops Brown and Ough Reflect on Council of Bishops Role

With a symbolic passing of the gavel from Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., Bishop Bruce R. Ough of the Dakotas-Minnesota Episcopal Area became the new president of the Council of Bishops on day three of General Conference. The two leaders visited the digital lounge to take a look back and a look forward. (Watch video)  

Bishop Brown Passes Gavel to New Council President

PORTLAND, Oregon: Bishop Bruce Ough, bishop of the Dakotas-Minnesota Area of The United Methodist Church, today became president of the Council of Bishops of the 12.3 million member global United Methodist Church. Bishop Ough assumed the presidency of the Council from Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., of the San Francisco Episcopal Area with a ceremonial passing of the gavel ceremony during a meeting of the General Conference, the denomination’s top legislative body that is gathered for its ...

GC2016 delegates say no to Rule 44

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — General Conference delegates decided their relationship status with Rule 44: They just aren’t that into it. The final tally on the much-debated proposed Group Discernment Process was 355 yes and 477 no. Even getting to a simple up-or-down vote had its own ups and downs that took most of the morning. Heather Hahn reports. Read story and post a comment    

God’s Transformative and Redemptive Spirit in Our Midst

By Rev. Greg Bergquist       Today (Thursday, May 12) was a day of highs and lows. Soaring music and deep reflective moments of prayer touched my soul. A powerful sermon by Bishop Christian Alsted reminded me of who we are as United Methodists. In his sermon, Bishop Alsted quoted Gus Speth, the former dean of forestry and environmental studies at Yale University: “I used to think that the top global environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and climate change. I thought ...

May 12 wrap-up: Rule 44 voted down

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Over the past three days, the United Methodist General Conference has offered a live demonstration of just how difficult following its rules of order can be. Delegates ultimately decided against a proposed Group Discernment Process that has dominated proceedings. In other news, one bishop “passes the gavel” and another will have to go under the knife after a nasty fall on Day One. Joey Butler has the story. Read story and post a comment

May 11 wrap-up: Episcopal address, more Rule 44 debate

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — A day after the celebratory tone of opening worship came a reminder that General Conference is one big, long meeting. As delegates got down to business, debate over one of the Rules of Order will stretch into a third day while the episcopal address urged United Methodists to “trust God and go.”? Joey Butler has the story. Read story and post a comment  

Palmer: Trust God’s promise and go forth

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Bishop Gregory V. Palmer laid out a path for the 2016 United Methodist General Conference: humility, humility, humility. “Everyone here is a child of God. Any behavior to the contrary of that truth undermines the gospel and is a choice to live beneath our privilege,” Palmer said in the episcopal address on May 11. Kathy L. Gilbert reports. Read story and post a comment  

Vigil remembers 35 million who died from AIDS

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — In a response of love and prayer, the 35 million people who have died of AIDS were remembered in a vigil outside the Oregon Convention Center as the 2016 General Conference meets to decide church law for the next four years. “We live in a world with 38 million people who are living with AIDS and 35 million who have died,” said retired Bishop Albert Frederick Fritz Mutti. “Too much of the world ignores this pandemic.” Kathy L. Gilbert reports. Read story and post a comment...

General Conference 2016 officially begins

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — Joining in a cacophony of “alleluias” in many languages, 864 United Methodist delegates gathered May 10 at the Oregon Convention Center for the 2016 General Conference. In his opening sermon, San Francisco Area Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr. challenged the assembly to remember Paul’s words to the Romans to “build each other up.” Barbara Dunlap-Berg reports. Read story and post a comment See UMNS slideshow  

May 10 wrap-up: Opening worship, rules debate

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — With a drum welcome from indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, United Methodists gathered for the opening worship of 2016 General Conference, the top legislative body of the denomination. Meeting May 10-20, the 864 delegates will consider 1,000 petitions affecting the 12.3 million-member denomination. Read story

Spirit of the Living God Fall Fresh Upon Us

By Rev. Jeffrey Kuan   The 2016 General Conference officially began with worship. I appreciate the care with which the Rev. Laura Bartlett and her team worked to put together an amazing worship to reflect the inclusive love of God and paying due respect to the Native Americans whose land we now live on. Our own Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. preached a powerful sermon with the title, “Jesus, We Are Here for You,” calling us United Methodists to go and live out the radically inclusive love that ...

111 clergy, clergy candidates come out as gay

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — On the eve of the 2016 General Conference, 111 United Methodist clergy and clergy candidates have come out as LGBTQ religious leaders. Among the signers are delegates at the denomination’s top lawmaking assembly. Heather Hahn reports. Read story and post a comment  

Allen Elected Secretary of Committee

California-Nevada Conference delegate Emily Allen was elected secretary of the Committee on Agenda and Calendar.

Brown gives final address as bishops’ leader

PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS) — In his final address as Council of Bishops president, Bishop Warner Brown Jr. testified to God’s transforming power, including in race relations. Brown spoke just days before the start of the 2016 General Conference, where many United Methodists are hoping to change the denomination in various ways. Heather Hahn reports. Read story and post a comment  

Council of Bishops Adopts Covenant of Accountability

Portland, Oregon: Meeting in Portland, Oregon, the Council of Bishops voted to adopt a “Covenant of Accountability for the Council of Bishops” and pledged to hold one another accountable for living according to the agreement while seeking the support and prayers of the entire church. The announcement comes on the eve of the quadrennial legislative meeting of The United Methodist Church. (Read more)  

Delegation on the Plenary Floor

The California-Nevada Conference Delegation on the plenary floor of General Conference 2016. From left to right, Randall Miller, Rev. Jeffrey Kuan, Emily Allen, Rev. Greg Bergquist, Rev. Karen Oliveto, and Burt Yin.

Prepared to Witness

By Emily Allen   Our last California-Nevada delegation meeting before General Conference was a week ago Saturday, and as I left the meeting I felt incredibly positive and prepared for General Conference. But as the week went on and General Conference drew closer, I started thinking of all of the additional things I could have read, studied, researched, debated, strategized, and prepared before I came. I had to remind myself that some of the best moments at General Conference in 2012, some of the...

Bishop Brown to Preach for Opening Worship and Holy Communion Service

Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., California-Nevada Conference Bishop and President of the Council of Bishops, will preach for the General Conference Opening Worship and Holy Communion Service on Tuesday, May 10, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. To view the live stream, click here.  

Hey, Those Methodists Have Ubuntu

By Rev. Greg Bergquist   When I think of my hopes, dreams, and prayers for General Conference, I am reminded of the words of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in his memoir No Future without Forgiveness (pp. 31-32), as he tries to render the African concept of “Ubuntu” into a Western language. Tutu says, “It speaks of the very essence of being human. When we want to give high praise to someone we say, ‘Yu, u nobuntu’; ‘Hey, so-and-so has ubuntu.’ Then you are generous, you are hospitable, you are ...

Standing in a Place of Paradox

By Dr. Randall Miller   “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:14-15)   Last Saturday, at the final California-Nevada Delegation meeting prior to our departure for the 2016 General Conference, I led a morning devotion focused on the power of paradoxes. According to Webster Dictionary, a paradox is “something (such as a ...

166th Session of the Cal-Nevada Annual Conference

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,   I greet you during this Easter season in the name of Jesus the Risen Christ. It's hard to believe, but the 166th session of our California-Nevada Annual Conference is fast approaching. We will gather in a new location at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Burlingame from June 18 to 21. This year our theme will be "The Power of With: Building the Beloved Community" and focuses on one of the denomination's four areas of focus, engaging in ministry with the poor.   ...

World Malaria Day

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,   I greet you this Easter Season in the name of Jesus the resurrected, and life giving, Christ.  This week, I hear the angel's instructions to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary in Matthew's account of the resurrection, "Go quickly and tell his disciples he has been raised from the dead."  I'm reminded that we are Easter people and this is still our calling to run from the tomb and tell the timeless resurrection story to all the people we can and in every way ...

Cambodia Eyeglasses Team

A United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) team is in Cambodia until the 28th. This team joins with a local Methodist church in Svay Reing to hold an eye glasses distribution project. This project is the gift to the local community for those most in need. Professional training to all team members was provided by Optometrist Joanne Van Bezey, O.D., who will also be on the team. The team is being led by Phil Bandy, California-Nevada Conference UMVIM director and veteran leader of multiple ...

Laywoman Gives $1.1 Million Gift to Malaria Initiative

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,   Mother Teresa once said, “It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”    During last annual conference session the California-Nevada became actively involved in the United Methodist Church’s Imagine No Malaria initiative. Working with other global partners, such as the United Nation’s Foundations, The Global Fund, World Health Organizations and others, the goal is to eradicate deaths from malaria on the continent of Africa. The United ...

Statement About School Shooting in Sparks, Nevada

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,   The unthinkable has happened yet again, another school shooting, this time in our own annual conference at a middle school in Sparks, Nevada. At this time, the press is reporting two persons dead, a staff member, and the suspected shooter.  Two other students have also been injured.   My heart is heavy, and it grieves me every time I hear of the news of our children becoming the victims, and perpetrators of gun violence.  This senseless violence, that seems...

Renewal Leave

July 12, 2013  Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,   With the excitement of annual conference just behind us and the work of the new quadrennium just getting up to speed this may seem like a strange time for me to be talking about renewal leave. But with all of the exciting work underway in the conference and the leadership expected of me in the local community and as President of the Council of Bishops (beginning next spring) this is the only opportunity I will have to take a break for rest ...

Prop 8 - DOMA Statement

June 26, 2013 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:   Today, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection rights of some citizens. The Supreme Court also declined to consider the appeal of the federal court decision which upheld the California Supreme Court in determining Proposition 8 (Prop 8) unconstitutional. Prop 8 was a California voter approved initiative that outlawed ...

Reflections from China

June 7, 2013 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:   I am eagerly looking forward to seeing many of you during our yearly family reunion, the Annual Conference Session, in Sacramento less than two weeks from now. It has been a busy Pentecost season, and I have been blessed by the Spirit's activity in the lives of United Methodists working to transform the world in the name of the resurrected Christ. In recent weeks, I have spent time with the other active bishops in a retreat that included a trip...

Oklahoma Tornado Recovery

May 21, 2013 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:   Psalm 55 verse 22 says to "cast your burden upon the Lord, and God will sustain you; God will never allow the righteous to be shaken." Like you, I have been watching the devastation caused by tornadoes to our brothers and sisters in Oklahoma. At this time, more than 20 people have been found dead including several children.   The faithful United Methodists of the California-Nevada Annual Conference have always responded in love to people all ...

Boston Marathon Tragedy

April 16, 2013 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:   Just like you, I was shocked, saddened, and disturbed to see images coming out of Boston yesterday of our brothers and sisters in sheer panic after two bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon killing three people, including an eight-year-old boy, and wounding 176 people. Then, I awoke this morning to the news of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in southeast Iran where at least 40 people are feared dead.   On this day, as an Easter people, no ...

Season of Resurrection

  Warner H. Brown, Jr. Resident Bishop   April 12, 2013   Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:   Greetings to you during this Easter season! This has been a season of tremendous blessings for me.   I spent Easter Sunday with the folks at Genesis United Methodist Church in Milpitas participating in the dedication of their new building. God's resurrection power was brought to life with a fellowship that began on Easter Sunday 1997 with the intentionality to become an Afrocentric congregation that...

An Acts 2 Model for Living Intentional Transformation

"At Saint Paul United Methodist Church of Fremont, transformation does not happen by accident. Recently having gone through a visioning and branding process, writes the Rev. Sun Hee Kim in this week's Vital Signs and Wonders blog, "we have come to understand ourselves as a church that centers all that it does on the three core values of INSPIRATION, INCARNATION and INTERSECTION. Through these values, we aim to live intentionally."   Read more about Sun Hee's model for living intentional ...

Midwive Leadership

Warner H. Brown, Jr. Resident Bishop March 8, 2013 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: It is my prayer that you are praying, reflecting, and growing during this Lenten season.   A few weeks ago, I wrote about my experience with a leadership team from our California-Nevada Annual Conference during the quadrennial training at the beginning of the year in Nashville. We talked about adaptive leadership and our adaptive challenge in our various ministry settings. Several questions were explored...

What is the State of Your Soul?

In this week's blog post on the "Vital Signs and Wonders (VSW)" site, the Rev. Greg Bergquist, Conference Superintendent for Leadership Vitality, reflects on the purpose of the Wesleyan small group – asking "What is the state of your soul?" "I believe in small groups. But, understanding the importance of small group ministry in our faith communities is so much more than counting the number of small groups in a congregation, or how many unique persons are attending a small group,” he writes.   "I...

Repairing the Breach - Bom Jesus

Warner H. Brown, Jr. Resident Bishop Friday, February 8, 2013   Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:   Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent beginning a 40-day period of prayer and fasting leading us to the Resurrection. According to the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke; Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert before beginning his public ministry.   As you reflect and pray during this Lenten season I ask you to lift up a very special mission project. It is called "Building...

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