The people of the California-Nevada Annual Conference acted to “reject and condemn” the Traditional Plan approved at this year's Special Called General Conference, when the 2019 Annual Conference Session was held June 19-22 in Modesto, California.
The Traditional Plan not only retained language in The Book of Discipline prohibiting LGBTQI+ individuals from ordination or marriage in the church, but also imposed harsh penalties on clergy who defy those restrictions.
Item 18, “Resolution on Conscientious Dissent from The Traditional Plan and Reaffirmation of Our Inclusive Tradition,” was approved as amended on a 103-13 vote in legislative section and included on the Consent Calendar. In addition to denouncing the doctrinal statement that was approved at the February, 2019 General Conference in St. Louis, the resolution stipulates that the people of northern California and northern Nevada “state our intention not to comply with the punitive and exclusionary policies adopted as part of the Traditional Plan, and … the California-Nevada Annual Conference affirms our historic commitment to the full inclusion of LGBTQI+ people in the mission and ministry of The United Methodist Church, including in matters related to marriage and ordination.”
The punitive measures called for in the General Conference action are scheduled to go into effect in the United States in January 2020.
Twenty-four other items were included on the Consent Calendar:
- Item 6, Recommendation for 2020 Retiree Health Insurance (Standing Rule Change)
- Item 7, Recommendation for 2020 ‘Past-Service’ (Pre-1982 Service) Pension Rate
- Item 8, Recommendation for 2020 Retired Clergy Rental Housing Exclusion
- Item 9, Recommendation for Lodi First United Methodist Church Historic Site Designation
- Item 14, Recommendation for a New Samoan Church Start (also amended in section)
- Item 15, Recommendation on Conference Committee on Nominations Listing
- Item 16, Recommendation for New Fijian Church Starts (amended)
- Item 17, Resolution on Building Faith Communities of Hospitality and Understanding
- Item 20, Resolution on The Least of These: Speaking Up for the Children of Gaza
- Item 21, Resolution of Thanks to Governor Gavin Newsom for Moratorium on Death Penalty
- Item 22, Resolution Towards Ending Child Incarceration Through Support for the Rights of Children (amended)
- Item 23, Resolution on Full Communion with The Episcopal Church (amended)
- Item 25, Resolution on the Rights of Licensed Local Pastors and Commissioned Provisional Elders
- Item 28, Petition to the 2020 General Conference to Amend ¶321.1 of The Book of Discipline (2016)
- Item 29, Petition to the 2020 General Conference to Amend ¶321.2 of The Book of Discipline (2016)
- Item 30, Petition to the 2020 General Conference to Amend ¶327.2 of The Book of Discipline (2016)
- Item 31, Petition to the 2020 General Conference to Amend ¶327.3 of The Book of Discipline (2016)
- Item 32, Petition to the 2020 General Conference to Amend ¶602.1 of The Book of Discipline (2016)
- Item 33, Recommendation Directing Core Team to form Task Groups
- Item 34, Recommendation for Conversation and Education in Local Churches (amended)
- Item 35, Recommendation for 2020 Minimum Salary
- Item 41, Resolution of Support for the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act
- Item 42, Resolution Regarding Conscientious Dissent from the Traditional Plan
- Item 43, Resolution Requesting a Special Jurisdictional Conference (amended)
Item 42 was placed on the Consent Calendar with Section B’s recommendation that it not be approved, following the section’s work to meld its “spirit and language” into Item 18.
Item 15 was placed on the Consent Calendar with Section D’s recommendation that it be referred to the Conference Committee on Nominations and Connectional Leadership Development for review and, if necessary, to make a recommendation to the 2020 ACS.
Item 14 and Item 16 were placed on the Consent Calendar with Section D’s recommendation that they be referred to the Cabinet, with a report on progress to be made to the 2020 ACS.
All other items on the Consent Calendar were placed there with a recommendation to approve. (For amended language, where applicable, see Compilation 4.2 of Recommendations, Resolutions, and Petitions.)
The Consent Calendar itself was adopted on a voice vote on the final day of the session, Saturday, June 22 – as was Item 1, the 2020 Budget Recommendation.
The plenary was required to take action on only five other items.
Item 12, Recommendation on Creation of a California-Nevada Structural Change Task Force, had been reported out of Section A with a recommendation to approve, but lacking the majority needed. On the floor it was amended to read, “Be it further resolved that the Nominating Committee leadership of the CORE Team and the co-chairs of the newly elected General Conference Delegation, working in partnership together, shall name 15 members to the Structural Change Task Force, including seven lay and seven clergy members, who are broadly representative of the geographic, ethnic/racial, and theological diversity found in the annual conference. At least one-fourth of the members of this Task Force shall be LGBTQI+ persons, at least one member shall be a youth or young adult, and [the Task Force] shall include one member each from the Council on Finance and Administration, Conference Board of Trustees, and Conference Board of Pensions.”
A motion to refer the item to the Conference CORE Team was defeated on a show of hands and the item was approved as amended, again on a show of hands.
Item 19, Resolution Asking Governor Gavin Newsom for Pardons for Non-Violent Drug Offenders, was removed from the Consent Calendar after being amended in Section C to include Governor Steve Sisolak of Nevada and approved on an 89-0 vote. In plenary, it was further amended to include the following language:
“Be it further resolved that the conference secretary and bishop send a letter to the governors of California and Nevada urging that they enact this resolution.
Be it further resolved that members of each congregation in our conference are strongly encouraged to have a letter writing party and send a letter to their respective governor urging action on this resolution.”
It then was approved on a voice vote.
Items 26 and 27, Petitions to the 2020 General Conference to Amend ¶35 and ¶316.6, respectively, of The Book of Discipline (2016) Relating to Rights of Licensed Local Pastors and Commissioned Provisional Members, were reported out of Section F with recommendations to approve (53-10 in the case of Item 26 and 54-10 in the case of Item 27 – less than what was needed to put them on the Consent Calendar). The recommendations to approve were sustained in plenary on a show of hands, Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño having reminded the body that the actions would serve only as a recommendation to the General Conference to consider making the requested changes: “We [the annual conference session] cannot change The Book of Discipline,” she said.
Item 24, Resolution on Redirecting General Church Apportionments, would have charged the Conference Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) with calculating the portion of a local church’s tithe that supports the World Service Fund and General Administration Fund, and setting up alternative funds to which congregations might “redirect that portion of their giving,” as a protest and public witness related to ending discrimination and supporting full inclusion” in the church. It was amended in Section B to spare the World Service Fund from the impact of the requested action, but was defeated as amended, with 21 in favor of the legislation and 88 opposed to it. The recommendation of the legislative section not to approve the item was sustained in plenary on a show of hands.
In other action, voting members in Modesto elected the following delegation:
Delegates to the 2020 General Conference of The United Methodist Church
Lay Delegates: Micheal Pope, Emily Allen, Rebecca Bernstein
Clergy Delegates: Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, Elizabeth Brick, Staci Current
Delegates to the 2020 Western Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church
Lay Delegates: Michael Hsu, Ryland Christian Fernandez, Lauren Michelle Stevens, Randall Miller, Gayle Shearman, Becca Cramer-Mowder, Ruby Bago
Clergy Delegates: Dale Weatherspoon, Sifa Hingano, Angela Brown, Kristin Stoneking, Fel Cao, Matthew Pearson, Theon Johnson III
Lay Reserve Delegates: Caroline Barrow, Beverley-Ann Boxill-German, Amanda Bulls-Stephens, David Troescher, Leslie Rickerd, Nina Klepac
Clergy Reserve Delegates: Motoe Yamada Foor, Kathy La Point-Collup, Hyok In Kwon, Craig Brown, E. Myrna Bernadel-Huey, Bener Agtarap