Special Session, General Conference of The United Methodist Church, St. Louis, MO
Saturday, February 23, 2019 to Tuesday, February 26, 2019

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Below articles begin with most recent
(June 13, 2019) and work backward.

Exiting congregations face hefty price tag
COLUMBUS, Georgia (UM News) — U.S. conferences are calculating how much a church must pay if it leaves the denomination under legislation approved by General Conference 2019. Some, such as the South Georgia Conference, have already approved policies related to disaffiliation. 
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Planning new directions for the church
LEAWOOD, Kan. (UM News) — More than 600 United Methodists from across the U.S. spent three days grappling with possible options for forging what they hope will be a more inclusive future in Methodism. What united the UMCNext group, who met behind closed doors, was a rejection of the Traditional Plan adopted by the special General Conference.
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Summit plans inclusive Methodist movement
MINNEAPOLIS (UM News) — Some 350 U.S. United Methodists gathered May 17-18 to discuss what a new Methodist movement centered on the marginalized might look like.
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Church continues grappling with GC2019 vote   
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UM News) — The decision of the 2019 General Conference continues to be met with both resistance and reinforcement.
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Meeks is one of 24 UM co-authors of new book, 'Where Do We Go From Here?'
Douglas Meeks, Memphis Conference retired elder and professor emeritus, Vanderbilt Divinity School, is one of 24 United Methodist leaders identified as co-authors of a new book that offers individuals and groups a place to better understand what United Methodist leaders are thinking in this crucial time.
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Bishops plan to explore 'new forms of unity'
CHICAGO (UMNS) — Faced with the fallout of the special 2019 General Conference, United Methodist bishops said they would join other church members in exploring new possibilities for the denomination's future. But at this point, they see their role more as listening rather than directing the church’s conversation. 
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Traditionalists, bishops talk church future 
CHICAGO (UMNS) — Traditionalist advocates met in private with United Methodist bishops from Africa, Europe and the Philippines to listen to concerns and discuss the denomination's future. The traditionalists also heard some pushback. 
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Bishops begin meeting in 'chaotic' moment
CHICAGO (UMNS) — The Council of Bishops begins its spring meeting amid conversations around the denomination about possibly splitting the church. Bishop Kenneth H. Carter, Council of Bishops president, urged his colleagues to "leave this place different than when we arrived." 
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Chart explains Judicial Council rulings
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The Judicial Council rulings on the Traditional Plan and the disaffiliation legislation passed at the 2019 General Conference are presented in a chart with links to the full text of all of the rulings.
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Understanding the Judicial Council's rulings
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — At its April meeting, The United Methodist Church's top court reviewed actions taken by the 2019 General Conference regarding the Traditional Plan and church disaffiliation requirements. The court ruled separately on the constitutionality of each of the petitions making up the Traditional Plan. Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, breaks down the rulings.
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Court rulings escalate talk of church split
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Rulings by The United Methodist Church’s top court on General Conference 2019 action have some church members celebrating and some planning exit strategies. 
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Court OKs part of Traditional Plan, exit plan
EVANSTON, Ill. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church’s top court has found that while some provisions of the newly adopted Traditional Plan remain unconstitutional, the rest of the plan is valid as church law.
Read story  Story includes links to the decisions. 

Top court meets in aftermath of GC2019
EVANSTON, Ill. (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church's top court meets April 23-26 to review the Traditional Plan adopted by the special General Conference, along with an exit plan that would allow local churches to leave the denomination. 
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Centrists, progressives to discuss church's future
LEAWOOD, Kan. (UMNS) — Unhappy with the results of General Conference 2019, about 600 centrist and progressive United Methodists from across the United States will meet May 20-22 at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. The question being asked: What should become of The United Methodist Church? 
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How will denominational divide affect mission? 
ATLANTA (UMNS) — During their spring meeting, directors of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries expressed pain over the deep divide that has occurred since the special General Conference and concern about how that divide will affect mission work and mission giving. 
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Outcome of General Conference bittersweet
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodists who supported the Traditional Plan say the General Conference vote was the best way forward, but they added that it's not a time for celebration. Instead, they said, it is a time to let people know everyone is welcome in the church. . 
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Leaders pursue plan for new US structure 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Despite concerns the plan will be engulfed by the homosexuality debate, the Connectional Table is submitting legislation to create a decision-making body on U.S. matters. 
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Global church wrestles with post-GC2019 pain 
MANILA, Philippines (UMNS) — United Methodists took time out of a joint international meeting to discuss the fallout of special General Conference. For some, it casts doubt on the future of a global church. 
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Feedback sought on global Discipline effort
MANILA, Philippines (UMNS) — The fallout of the special General Conference has slowed a project to determine what in the Book of Discipline is adaptable in Africa, Europe and the Philippines. Instead of a vote on proposed revisions, church leaders plan to ask the 2020 General Conference for feedback. 
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Denomination's future under discussion — quietly
DALLAS (UMNS) — Discussions about the future of The United Methodist Church are quietly occurring among denomination leaders after a recent General Conference that underscored deep divisions over homosexuality. Centrists and progressives have begun to meet, and separate talks are underway between some who backed the Traditional Plan and some who favored the One Church Plan. 
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Seminary leaders stress inclusiveness after GC2019  
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Leaders of most United Methodist seminaries in the U.S. that train clergy for the denomination are stressing their inclusive policies after the special General Conference affirmed the church's LGBTQ bans. 
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Resistance to GC2019 spreads
DALLAS (UMNS) — Resistance continues to the passage of the Traditional Plan at the recent United Methodist General Conference. It’s taking different forms and drawing in people who haven’t spoken out before. 
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Questions about task force ricocheting around church 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — The integrity of The United Methodist Church's lawmaking body will be the focus of a special task force digging into possible voting improprieties at the recent 2019 General Conference. Some are already questioning whether a task force of 12 members of the Commission on the General Conference can fairly investigate, since the commission credentials and oversees voting at General Conference. 
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Task force to investigate GC2019 voting 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — General Conference organizers have appointed a task force to investigate possible improper voting at the recently completed special session of The United Methodist Church's top lawmaking body. 
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Denials, charges fly on GC2019 voting credentials

Western Jurisdiction team responds to GC2019 
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Western Jurisdiction leadership team met March 14 to discuss General Conference 2019. The team issued a statement calling on The United Methodist Church to "repent of the exclusionary principles of the Traditional Plan," which passed at General Conference. 
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Read statement
List of GC2019 petitions under court review
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A list of Traditional Plan and disaffiliation petitions approved by General Conference 2019 and under review by Judicial Council has been compiled by Ask The UMC and UM News, along with any amendments approved. 
Read list
Ask The UMC's FAQ about General Conference

GC2019 voting credentials under review
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — General Conference 2019 organizers are looking into whether ineligible people might have received credentials to vote during the special session. After an in-depth review, it appears possible that "a very limited number" of ineligible people who were correctly denied credentials by General Conference staff were later able to procure them, said the Rev. Gary Graves, secretary of the General Conference. 
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Judicial Council to review GC2019 actions 
EVANSTON, Ill. (UMNS) — Headline-making decisions by the legislative body of The United Methodist Church will be reviewed next month by the denomination's top court. The two items on the April 23-26 docket deal with constitutionality questions related to the Traditional Plan and an exit plan approved by GC2019. 
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German church won't impose Traditional Plan bans
FULDA, Germany (UMNS) — Stipulations in the Traditional Plan approved by General Conference 2019 are unacceptable, said the executive committee of The United Methodist Church in Germany. The committee said the church in Germany will not impose the stricter penalties on the church’s provisions on homosexuality.
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Read statement

Ask The UMC - Questions about GC2019? Read the FAQ
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Many United Methodists have questions after General Conference 2019. Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, offers answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Read the FAQ
More Ask The UMC

'United Methodist Rural Advocates' issues statement about 2019 General Conference that ended Feb. 26  Many United Methodist churches in the Memphis Conference (West Tennessee and Western Kentucky) of The United Methodist Church are in rural locations. Your United Methodist Rural Advocates are glad that we were able to come together with other United Methodist brothers and sisters in St. Louis to find a way forward in a divisive time in the history of the Wesleyan tradition. We write to reaffirm our commitment to ...

Reaction to GC2019 remains strong
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — United Methodists of varying perspectives continue to react to the General Conference decision to strengthen restrictions against ordination of openly gay clergy and same-sex unions. Protests have been widespread, and meetings by local churches and conferences to discuss the future are underway or planned. 
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Young adults reflect on Traditional Plan adoption
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) — Passage of the Traditional Plan by The United Methodist Church's top legislative body is either "in perfect harmony with the word of God" or "a time of grieving," depending on which young adult you ask. 
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Beginning to look ahead after GC2019
ST. LOUIS (UMNS) — The Wesleyan Covenant Association is sticking around, and so are a number of church members who plan to continue defying the denomination's policies on homosexuality. Healing remains a work in progress. 
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GC2019 maps uncertain way forward

Memphis Methodists grapple with decision on gay weddings, clergy as Sunday approaches
Memphis Commercial Appeal - March 2, 2019
Read story.

GC2019 maps uncertain way forward

ST. LOUIS (UMNS) — More than 53 percent of General Conference delegates approved the Traditional Plan, which reinforces the church’s current bans on “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy and same-sex unions. Still uncertain is how much of the legislation will take effect — or whether it will change the dynamic where a number of United Methodists openly defy these rules.
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2019 General Conference passes Traditional Plan 
ST. LOUIS (UMNS) — In a 438-384 vote, delegates to The United Methodist Church's top lawmaking assembly approved a plan that affirms church policies on homosexuality and strengthens enforcement. A last-ditch effort to bring the One Church Plan back was defeated. The United Methodist News Service team reports. 
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Read Council of Bishops press release 
Traditional Plan advances as One Church, Simple plans fail 
Pensions, Traditional Plan top priority votes 

Conflict defines General Conference aimed at unity 
ST. LOUIS (UMNS) — United Methodists tried to come to terms with a General Conference that was meant to unify but instead underscored divisions and had all sides acknowledging a high level of pain.  
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Key GC2019 votes prompt anguish, satisfaction 
Traditional and One Church backers gear up 

Wrap-up: Judicial Council at GC2019 
ST. LOUIS (UMNS) — At every General Conference, The United Methodist Church’s top court rules on questions of constitutionality that come from that body. During the Feb. 23-26 special session, the stakes were high. 
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Court to GC2019: Legislation needs more work 
Court rules two GC2019 petitions unconstitutional 
Judicial Council cites 2016 decision in query at GC2019 

GC2019: The week in pictures 
ST. LOUIS (UMNS) — United Methodist News Service photographers captured the images from the special session of General Conference, which included passionate debate, prayer and protests. 
View photos 

Many came to witness United Methodist history 
ST. LOUIS (UMNS) — Clergy and laity observers at the 2019 General Conference reflect the theological diversity that’s challenging The United Methodist Church. Many say they came to pray and to watch history unfold as delegates grappled with legislative options regarding the church’s stance on homosexuality.  
Read story 

Audio stories from General Conference 2019 
ST. LOUIS (UMNS) — Audio stories from General Conference 2019 include daily wrap-ups of events in the voices of the delegates and others. 
Listen to audio stories 
Listen to Bishop Kenneth H. Carter’s ‘The Cross and Flame’ sermon

Memphis Conference Video: 

  • Bishop McAlilly recorded message at end of General Conference | DETAILS
  • Clergy delegates made passionate speeches on Feb. 26:                                          Sky McCracken  |  Eddie Bromley  
Assorted Memphis Conference Photos | CLICK HERE

Thank many from Memphis Conference who served in St. Louis

 'WAY FORWARD' after GC2019

Click HERE for video recording of March 10 LIVE STREAM panel Q&A with Bishop McAlilly & delegates about 2019 General Conference Special Session. The event was live streamed on Sunday, March 10, at 3 p.m.  | DETAILS



The Council of Bishops has called a Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church to be held Feb. 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. Delegates from around the world will be in attendance, including a delegation of four from the Memphis Conference.
The General Conference will act on a report from the Council of Bishops based on recommendations of the Commission on a Way Forward. The 32-member Commission was appointed to examine paragraphs in The Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and exploring options to strengthen the unity of the church.


  • What is a General Conference Special Session? Why now? | DETAILS

  • ​Basic Q&A | DETAILS

  • ​Historical context video (By Susquehanna Conference) | DETAILS

  • Mission, vision, scope of Commission on a Way Forward | DETAILS

  • Archives of General Conference press releases | DETAILS

  • Glossary of General Conference Terms | DETAILS

  • 2016 Book of Discipline | DETAILS

  • Free training course: Exploring General Conference | DETAILS


  • Report from Commission on a Way Forward | English | Spanish

  • Overview of 4 plans | DETAILS

  • Constitutionality of plans | DETAILS

  • Potential clergy pension impacts Q&A (Wespath) | DETAILS

  • Trust Clause Q&A (General Council on Finance & Administration) | DETAILS


  • United Methodist News Service | DETAILS

  • Memphis Conference eNews | DETAILS

  • Advance Daily Christian Advocate (agenda, rules, delegate lists, petitions, reports from general agencies, commissions, study committees, info for delegates, codes of conduct) |


  • Feb. 14, 2019: God's Great Grace | DETAILS

  • Feb. 15, 2019: As We Prepare for General Conference | DETAILS


  • ​​Panel discussion (streamed Feb. 6) with speakers for major plans | DETAILS

  • Videos of different perspectives | DETAILS 

  • Statement from presidents & representatives of U.S. United Methodist colleges & universities | DETAILS

  • Letter from United Methodist Rural Advocates | DETAILS


  • Day of Prayer on Sat., Feb. 23 | DETAILS and SCHEDULE

  • ​Prayer resources for all | DETAILS  (This link doesn't work in some browsers.)

  • Prayer resources for young people | DETAILS


  • How to communicate with delegates | DETAILS



  • Volunteer marshals & pages from Memphis Conference | DETAILS

  • ​Bishops' Covenant for presiding | DETAILS

  • ​Communications Tool Kit for churches | DETAILS

  • Conversation resources | DETAILS