General Conference 2008: Sabbath Business
By Bruce Pettit
California-Nevada News Service
There was a promise to look at that for 2012, but this time it was too late. For reasons of economy, General Conference organizers cut one day out of the Holy Conferencing time of previous years – from 11 days to 10 days. So all time here is compressed. Full plenary and individual legislative committees continued to meet on this Sunday in a mad scramble to have all the legislation out of committee no later than Monday for full conference consideration. This conference must end on Friday.
On this Sabbath, the legislative
A similar proposal to delete the "incompatible" phrase came out of the 2004 General Conference in
Despite the committee scrambles, delegates here had managed to forward some legislation for plenary votes Sunday morning.
The issue of proportional representation has simmered for the last several years. How "equally" should various areas of the church have appointees on the larger bodies that do work for the general (worldwide) church? For years, places such as the
The specific issue Sunday was representation on the Committee on Central Conference Affairs. Should it be weighted equally among the three Central Conference regions of Africa, Europe, and the
Prior to political contentiousness surrounding that action, however, the 992 delegates here celebrated the demise of the Central Jurisdiction 40 years ago for their morning Sabbath.
U.S. Methodists were able to heal their Civil War division in 1939 (74 years after the end of the North/South struggle) only by putting all African-Americans into a Central Jurisdiction, while five other jurisdictions were set by geography. Retired Bishop Forrest C. Smith said it was, at the time, "perceived unity and progress." On this Sabbath the conference heard from W. Astor Kirk, a member of the 1960s Committee of Five, which paved the way for dissolution of the Central Jurisdiction. "I had a deep conviction that we should make contributions solely on ability," he said.
In 2008 black congregations are struggling, due to economic deprivation, according to a report from an initiative called "Strengthening the