In early 2022, the Virginia Conference Delegation to General and Jurisdictional Conference voted to endorse the Christmas Covenant, “a set of legislation and constitutional amendments submitted to the United Methodist Church’s (UMC) General Conference with the goal of establishing regional equity in the structures of the church for missional effectiveness while sustaining connectional unity” (www.christmascovenant.com/faqs).
The Christmas Covenant emerged from the United Methodist Church outside the United States and is built upon the values of “connectional relationships rooted in mission, respect for contextual ministry settings, [and] legislative equality for regional bodies of the church.” It is our belief that the Christmas Covenant provides a framework for a healthy and fruitful future for the United Methodist Church – one that honors the glorious diversity of our worldwide connection.
The Christmas Covenant would transform the existing Central Conferences into Regional Conferences and create a United States Regional Conference. It would increase the ability of each Regional Conference to adapt the Book of Discipline to fit its missional context and create a more equitable structure for our global church. The denominational Connectional Table has endorsed the Christmas Covenant framework for a U.S. Regional Conference (https://www.resourceumc.org/en/content/connectional-table-affirms-the-christmas-covenant-legislation).
The delegation wants the full Virginia Annual Conference to have a chance to learn about and endorse the Christmas Covenant. Over the next year, beginning at the 2022 session of Annual Conference, we will be sharing information about the Christmas Covenant in various settings. We hope that this information sharing will enable the people of the Virginia Annual Conference to have the opportunity to understand this exciting proposal. The delegation will then ask for the Virginia Conference to join us in endorsing the Christmas Covenant at its 2023 session.
We look forward to sharing with you about the Christmas Covenant in the year to come, and we continue to pray for the future of God’s work in and through the United Methodist Church.
The Virginia Conference Delegation to General and Jurisdictional Conference
(Click here for a list of delegates)