General Conference 2008: U.S. Politics Must Not Dictate UM Outreach to Latin America, Carcaño Says
By Bruce Pettit
California-Nevada News Service
In the 20th Century, the
"Our prosperity has impeded our ability to know how to be the church in the context of injustice," she told the 992 delegates to the 2008 General Conference. "God is not a respecter of national states. As the dominant culture, we too easily believe we have all the answers – that we must be the initiators of every good work."
Many injustices which have occurred, she added, are "due to the actions and inactions by the
The 2004 General Conference directed that a task force look at the relationship between the
In examining the history, the task force found that Methodists in
The task force asked this General Conference to begin reversing last century's errors. It will ask the United Methodist general agencies to develop a "holistic strategy" of outreach. To start a connectional program, the task force requested $10,000.
However, the Legislative Committee on Financial Administration was, the preceding day, hearing that it cannot increase the draft budget of $642 million for the next four years – certainly not without taking away from other pursuits. (Searches are underway to determine how to find money for the general church budget; there were moves in Financial Administration to make each jurisdiction support its own episcopal costs. Those will be heard next week.)
Also reporting Saturday was a task force set up in 2004 to study the future of the episcopacy. One concern it noted was that the retirement plan for the general church applies only to
A second concern noted was for bishops' workloads. Issues about terms of bishops and the number of bishops will come before the full General Conference next week from a committee looking into those issues this week.
The uplift of Saturday was several success stories that have come from the 25,000 churches in rural areas of the U.S. United Methodist Rural Fellowship decried that small rural churches are too often "demoralized by rhetoric that devalues small membership." Too often pastors accept appointment to rural churches just briefly as they advance their careers, it was lamented, and salaries are low. Yet festivities celebrating rural churches were punctuated by streamers of paper butterflies made by senior programs of the Red Bird Missionary Conference (southeastern
Packets of zinnia seeds were given each delegate to take home and plant as symbols of how small things can grow into something that fulfills the theme of this General Conference – "A Future with Hope."