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Epworth Church Council votes to send 3 petitions to Annual Conference Session


On Sunday, April 28, Epworth church council members voted to send three petitions to the California-Nevada Annual Conference Session (regional body), to be held in Modesto, CA from June 19-22, 2019. One is a denunciation of the Traditionalist Plan and a re-affirmation of our commitment to dignity, love and welcome for all people; the second advocates for the creation of a task force to strategize and coordinate around the way forward for all of us; and the third redirects a portion of our general church tithe. The complete text of the petitions are found below.

#0001: Rejection of the ‘Traditional Plan’/Reaffirmation of Our Inclusive Tradition

Submitted by Berkeley Epworth Church Council

Total No. of Members: 20

No. Present for Vote: 17

Voting For = 17, Voting Against = 0, Abstentions = 0

Financial Implications: No

Adopted on April 28, 2019

Person submitting: Randall Miller (randall4015@hotmail.com)

Fiscal impact: None

Procedure: Parliamentary

Rationale

The adoption of the Traditional Plan by the 2019 General Conference strengthened the exclusionary policies of the United Methodist Church and compounded the pain and suffering of LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex) United Methodists. This petition rejects and urges noncompliance with the anti-LGBTQI+ policies enacted by the 2019 General Conference and ratified, in part, by the Judicial Council. The petition also reaffirms California-Nevada’s (CNV’s) proud legacy of prophetic witness and bold action and restates the United Methodist Social Principles’ support for equal rights for all people.

Resolution(s)

Be it resolved that we the members of the California-Nevada (CNV) Annual Conference reject the harmful actions taken by the 2019 UMC General Conference and state our intention not to comply with the punitive and exclusionary policies adopted as part of the ‘Traditional Plan.’

Be it further resolved that the CNV Annual Conference reaffirms its 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.

And be it further resolved that we call on all United Methodists and all UMC-affiliated institutions throughout our global connection, including boards, agencies, schools, and hospitals, to reaffirm our denomination’s longstanding commitments to protecting the dignity and worth of all people and to promoting equal rights for every person, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

#0002: Creation of a CNV Structural Change Task Force

Submitted by Berkeley Epworth Church Council

Total No. of Members: 20

No. Present for Vote: 15

Voting For = 15, Voting Against = 0, Abstentions = 0

Financial Implications: Yes

Adopted on April 28, 2019

Person submitting: Randall Miller (randall4015@hotmail.com)

Fiscal impact: Creates additional expenditures related to the need for two, face-to-face meetings of the Structural Change Task Force over the next year, including reimbursements for mileage and covering the costs of meals and any lodging for those traveling from long distances.

Procedure: Parliamentary

Rationale

This petition creates a California-Nevada (CNV) Structural Change Task Force to work in partnership with a similar Task Force established by the Western Jurisdiction Leadership Team in the aftermath of the 2019 General Conference. The chief responsibilities of the CNV Task Force are to delve into proposed structural changes already under discussion in the general church, provide information and guidance to the CNV Annual Conference, and provide opportunities for discernment and discussion at the 2020 CNV Annual Conference Session.

Resolution(s)

Be it resolved that the California-Nevada Annual (CNV) Conference create a Structural Change Task Force to work in partnership with a similar, already-existing Jurisdictional Task Force. The charge of the CNV Structural Change Task Force will be to investigate various proposals for structural changes, including but not limited to:

  1. Making the U.S. a central conference;

  2. Developing a two- or three-branch model of United Methodism, involving conservative, moderate, and progressive branches;

  3. Exploring an amicable separation between conservatives/traditionalists on the one hand and moderate/progressives on the other.

Be it further resolved that the Nominating Committee shall name 15 members to the CNV 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 and shall include one member each from the Council on Finance and Administration, Conference Board of Trustees, and Conference Board of Pensions. To ensure broad inclusion, no more than three members of the Extended Cabinet shall serve on the Task Force, including the Bishop or her representative. Additionally, the Executive Director of Connectional Ministries shall serve as an ex-officio member of the Task Force and will support its work.

And be it further resolved that the Task Force shall meet at least three times between July 2019 and May 2020, with at least two face-to-face meetings. The Task Force shall deliver a written report and make an oral presentation to the 2020 CNV Annual Conference Session, which shall include opportunities for conference members to discuss their findings and talk with one another about the future of the United Methodist Church.

#0003 – Redirecting CNV’s General Church Apportionments

Submitted by Berkeley Epworth Church Council

Total No. of Members: 20

No. Present for Vote: 16

Voting For = 15, Voting Against = 1, Abstentions = 0

Financial Implications: Yes

Adopted on April 28, 2019

Person Submitting: Randall Miller (randall4015@hotmail.com)

Fiscal impact: Potentially redirects apportionment giving from some current World Service Fund and General Fund recipients. No fiscal impact on the Annual Conference or Western Jurisdiction.

Procedure: Parliamentary

Rationale

Based on a proposal initially developed by Annual Conference Treasurers from the Western Jurisdiction, this petition encourages churches to redirect rather than withhold their support for United Methodist institutions and program at the general church level that discriminate against LGBTQI+ people. As a reminder, approximately 76% of local church tithing stays within the Annual Conference; while a much smaller percentage goes to support the work of the Western Jurisdiction.

This petition encourages 100% giving to the ministries and programs of both the California-Nevada Annual Conference (CNV) and the Western Jurisdiction, while allowing congregations, who, in good conscience, can no longer support discriminatory church programs and institutions. Rather than withholding funds, congregations can redirect their tithes to an Alternative General World Service Fund and an Alternative General Administration Fund, governed by criteria established by the CNV Council on Finance and Administration.

Resolution(s)

Be it resolved that the California-Nevada Annual (CNV) Conference supports local congregations who wish to protest the unjust policies of the Church and make a public witness related to ending discrimination and supporting full inclusion in the United Methodist Church.

Be it further resolved that the Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) be charged with calculating the portion of a local church’s tithe that supports the World Service and General Administration Funds and creating an Alternative World Service Fund and an Alternative General Administration Fund to which congregations make redirect that portion of their tithing.

And, be it further resolved that by no later than January 15, 2020, the CFA, in consultation with the Bishop and/or her representative, the Core Team, and the Conference Committee on Reconciliation, be charged with developing a list of current and future ministries and programs that the Alternative General Church Fund and the Alternative World Service Fund would support. A key criteria for receiving support from these Alternative Funds will be CFA’s determination that recipients not discriminate against LGBTQI+ persons or any other group.

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