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January 14, 2015
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The NEJ Global Structure Task Force (Task Force) requests that you submit the attached [links below] legislative proposal to your Annual Conference in 2015, as a petition to the 2016 General Conference. This request is being sent to the Directors of Connectional Ministries, the leadership of the 2012 and/or 2016 NEJ delegations, and the member(s) of the Global Structure Task Force from each annual conference, in order for you to determine who should submit the legislation.
By way of background, the Task Force was appointed by the College of Bishops and has been meeting since July 2013. We were charged with considering and proposing recommendations regarding the global structure of The United Methodist Church (UMC) and submitting our recommendations to each of the NEJ annual conferences in 2015 for their consideration and possible action.
One of our first actions was to develop a set of core values to guide our work:
- Be Christ Focused - The denominational structure should reflect the teachings of and empower the mission of Jesus Christ.
- Embody Structural Fairness - The denominational structure should provide for greater global equality in the church around access to services, participation in structures, and shaping the agenda of The United Methodist Church. Any plan should provide for an equitable global resourcing and distribution of apportioned funds.
- Extend Community - Everyone, everywhere must be welcome and safe in The United Methodist Church. Any new structure must honor non-essential differences and defend the essential dignity and worth of all God’s children.
The Task Force has been in communication with other committees across the denomination which are also working on aspects of the global structure: the Connectional Table, the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters, and jurisdictional groups in the Western and North Central Jurisdictions.
The Task Force distributed two preliminary proposals (in March 2014 and September 2014) for consideration and feedback. We have revised our proposal based on the input we received.
In summary, this final proposal recommends that:
- The Global Connectional Conference will be similar to General Conference, except that it will ONLY deal with global issues and will be responsible for a Global Book of Discipline.
- The UMC will be organized into four continent-wide “connections”: Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
- Each of the four connections will have the option of organizing into regions. Each connection will be responsible for its own, connection-wide book of discipline, relevant to matters that are not global.
- Annual Conferences will remain the same.
The specific details of the Task Force’s proposal are included in the attached “Concept Proposal” which explains each level of the proposed structure along with its roles and responsibilities. We have also provided the legislation needed to amend the Constitution of The UMC, in order to allow for these changes.
It is our expectation that each Annual Conference in the Northeast Jurisdiction will consider submitting these documents as petitions to the 2016 General Conference.
We offer this proposal in humility and in gratitude for God’s guidance.
Tracy Merrick, Chairperson of The NEJ Global Structure Task Force
Task Force Members: Sara Baron, Scott Campbell, Darlene DiDomineck, Jen Ihlo, Sue Jamison, Scott Johnson, Judi Kenaston, Cynthia Ann Kent, Marilyn D. Kinelski, Larry Leister, Tracy Merrick, Derrick Porter, Morais Quissico, Denise Smartt Sears, and Eliezer Valentin-Castanon
Legislation assistance: Kevin Nelson
A - Global Structure Proposal - Introduction (same as above)
B - Global Structure Proposal - Concept Proposal Word document PDF document
C1 - Global Conf enabling legislation Word document PDF document
C2 - Connectional Conf enabling legislation
C3 - Regional Conf enabling legislation
C4 - Annual Conf Provisions
C5 - Boundaries
C6 - GlobalStructure-Episcopacy
C7 - GlobalStructure-Judiciary
C8 - Name change General Conf to Global Conf
C9 - Name change to Regional Conf
D - Global Structure Proposal - FAQs