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Guide to 2016 General Conference
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May 11, 2016

View digital guide to General Conference
The conference Communications office prepared a digital guide to 2016 General Conference. Click here to view the publication and learn about Portland, Ore., site of the legislative assembly; meet Virginia Conference delegates; learn about some of the most pressing legislative issues, and more ...

General Conference begins with opening worship Tuesday, May 10
Joining in a cacophony of “alleluias” in many languages, 864 United Methodist delegates gathered May 10 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland for the 2016 General Conference. In his opening sermon, San Francisco Area Bishop Warner Brown Jr. challenged the assembly to remember Paul’s words to the Romans to “build each other up.” Opening worship also included music and welcome from indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, a procession of bishops, gifts of prayers beads and medallions to every delegate and Holy Communion. More ... Click here to view UMNS slideshow

Virginia Greer reflects on opening worship at General Conference
In a short video, Virginia Greer, first-time Virginia Conference laity delegate to General Conference, reflects on opening worship at the denomination's legislative assembly. Produced by Nick Ruxton, videographer in the Virginia Conference Communications office, the video is posted on the conference website at, on the conference YouTube channel at and on the conference Facebook page at

Meredith McNabb leads call to worship for May 11 opening worship service
The Rev. Meredith McNabb, conference director of Clergy Excellence and VAUMC clergy delegate to General Conference, led the call to worship at opening worship on Wednesday, May 11.

Warren Harper to participate in General Conference Laity Address
On Friday, May 13, Warren Harper, Virginia Conference Lay Leader, will participate with several other conference lay leaders in presentation of the Laity Address to General Conference. The address is scheduled to start at 8:45 a.m. Portland time (11:45 a.m. in Virginia). You will be able to view the presentation on the General Conference live stream at

Alex Joyner speaks at press conference opposing divestment from Israel
The Rev. Alex Joyner, Eastern Shore District superintendent, spoke at a United Methodists for Constructive Peacemaking in Israel and Palestine (UMCPIP) press conference on opening day of General Conference to urge rejection of divestment from Israel. Instead of divestment, UMCPIP supports a resolution encouraging the UMC to invest in companies involved in peacemaking and cooperative efforts between Israelis and Palestinians or which make financial donations to non-profits working for peace and reconciliation in the region. "There’s a lot of confusion about this issue, and divestment itself can be confusing," Joyner said. "I’ve had good conversations with people who disagree with me on this position, but I think we all have a concern for what the occupation is doing. We feel it is a moral hazard for both Israelis and Palestinians, it distorts the society for Palestinians and for Israelis, and it has to end. The question is, 'How can we best be a witness to help that end?'" More ...

Tom Berlin interviewed by Washington Post
In the May 9 issue of the Washington Post, the Rev. Tom Berlin, senior pastor of Floris UMC in Herndon and clergy head of the Virginia Conference delegation to General Conference, was quoted in an article about the 2016 legislative assembly. Berlin said one of the proposals that delegates will consider is a measure asking whether Methodists “can create a global Book of Discipline that says: ‘Here’s what we agree upon worldwide,’ and then one for each area of the world to help us deal with our own cultures.” Berlin said the issue is "What questions belong to the whole, and what questions belong to the parts?” More ...

Ogren, Alley-Grant, Thomas interviewed on Roanoke TV news
The Rev. Mark Ogren, General Conference delegate and conference director of Congregational Excellence; the Rev. Lynne Alley-Grant, pastor of Timberlake UMC in Lynchburg; and the Rev. Tom Thomas, pastor for Bethany UMC in Forest and Oakland UMC in Goode, were interviewed by Chris Hurst, evening news anchor for WDBJ7, CBS TV affiliate in the Roanoke area, about The United Methodist Church's divided opinions regarding homosexuality. The interview was shown on the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. news broadcasts on Tuesday, May 10. More ...

Roanoke District pastor is translator for General Conference
The Rev. Seungsoo "R.J." Jun, pastor of Raleigh Court UMC on the Roanoke District, is serving as a translator at General Conference. Simultaneous voice translation for delegates is available in English, French, German, KiSwahili, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Swahili.

111 clergy, clergy candidates come out as gay
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. More ...

Judicial Council rules revised Plan UMC still partly unconstitutional
One of the proposed plans to re-align the structure of The United Methodist Church will need yet another revision if the denomination’s top legislative body decides to adopt it. In a May 9 ruling, the United Methodist Judicial Council declared, “Plan UMC Revised contains components that fail the test of constitutionality and components that are, as stated, entirely constitutional.” The decision was one of eight issued after the top court’s May 6-9 spring meeting. More ...

Plan UMC’s fate still up to GC2016
Petitions before the United Methodist top lawmaking body would eliminate three general commissions. The denomination’s top court ruled such changes as constitutional, so delegates must decide if those changes are desirable. More ...

African delegates poised to be a force at General Conference
African delegates say they enter General Conference 2016 better prepared than at past legislative gatherings, and determined to gain more clout and resources for their continent’s part of The United Methodist Church. Most African delegates met for two days of briefings and strategy just before General Conference convened in Portland. More ...

GC2016 to consider 3 sites for Heritage Landmarks
Gulfside Assembly, Pearl River United Methodist Church and The United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill are nominees for Heritage Landmarks. They represent more than 350 years of Methodist ministry. More ...

Will General Conference delegates remake map of denomination?
Could reshaping the map of The United Methodist Church help strengthen the denomination? Delegates to the 2016 General Conference, the denomination’s top lawmaking body, will consider proposals that aim to do just that. Among them are petitions that would alter jurisdictional boundaries in the United States, create a U.S. central conference or revamp the denomination’s regional structures altogether. More ...

Follow Virginia Conference reports from General Conference
Follow Virginia Conference Communications staff coverage of General Conference on the conference website at, the conference YouTube channel at, the conference Facebook page at, the conference Twitter feed at, and the conference Instagram page at To follow or participate in conversations about General Conference on social media, use hashtags #UMCGC, #UMC and #VAUMC.

Follow events at General Conference on computer, phone or tablet
Even if you're not in Portland, you can follow all the action at General Conference on your computer, phone or tablet.

♦ Bookmark the website. is the source for everything about General Conference 2016. News, blogs, resources, videos and photos about everything happening at General Conference are available in this central location. United Methodist Communications will update this page throughout the General Conference with the latest news and daily summaries that share the highlights of each day.

♦ Watch the live stream. Whenever the conference is in session, will feature live streaming video where you will be able to watch the voting, worship, speeches and celebrations happening on the floor of General Conference. The feed will be available in English, French and American Sign Language. The schedule is available online, just remember all times listed are Pacific Time Zone, and you may have to adjust.

♦ Get the app. General Conference 2016 has a mobile device application available in your app store (Google Play | iTunes). News, videos, photos and daily devotions are there now, and much more will be added and updated throughout General Conference.

♦ Follow on social media. Follow UMCGeneralConference on Facebook, @UMCGC on Twitter and umcgc on Instragram for stories, photos, videos and links. Use the official hashtag of General Conference 2016, #UMCGC, on any social media platform to join and follow the conversations of United Methodists all over the world. One of the easier ways to follow #UMCGC will be available at

♦ Keep up with specific legislation. If you are interested in a specific piece of legislation, possibly one submitted by your congregation or annual conference, you can track it on a webpage in the General Conference section of

For in-depth news and features about United Methodist mission and ministry, subscribe to the Virginia United Methodist Advocate, the Virginia Conference’s award-winning monthly magazine — now available in both print and digital formats. Click here to subscribe. Or call the Communications office at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110, or (804) 521-1110. Or e-mail For information about the Virginia Conference and resources for ministry, visit the Virginia Conference website at



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