A message from the Virginia Conference delegation. For more information, visit https://vaumc.org/general-conference-2022/
We have just moved through the season of Advent to Christmas and into a New Year. It is a time of hopeful expectation. A time where we think about how life is and how life could be and we anticipate the months ahead. Delegates to the scheduled 2022 General and Jurisdictional Conferences are considering the current state of the United Methodist Church in this light. There is hope that days of promise are ahead that will not include conflict in our denomination so present in years past. There is a belief that making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world is a mission we can undertake with greater vitality and joy.
The Virginia Annual Conference delegation is aware of the present reality of the church. Part of that reality is the uncertainty about the ongoing impact of the pandemic and whether the General Conference will be held on August 29 – September 6, 2022. This decision belongs to the Commission on the General Conference, the group responsible for planning the event, and should be announced sometime in February 2022.
The Virginia Conference delegation has held virtual meetings over the past months in order to care for the health of delegates and their families. Participation in these meetings has been robust, with a virtual format allowing delegates to participate with little worry about travel or other geographic concerns. While waiting to hear from the Commission on the General Conference, the delegation has been focused on foundational areas of learning to ensure future work is grounded in an understanding of our roots and calling as United Methodists. In recent meetings, delegates have taken time to review Parts I-IV of the United Methodist Book of Discipline. In small groups and in the larger plenary sessions of meetings, delegates enjoyed a rich conversation and celebration around the doctrine and theology of the United Methodist Church. Members of the delegation stated that reading the doctrine and Wesleyan theology found there was a source of renewal to their souls and ministry. Some said that they were reminded why they loved the United Methodist Church while reading the history of the Methodist movement, the Doctrinal Standards and General Rules, Distinctive Wesleyan Emphases, and Theological Task. When surveyed, delegation members all shared a common commitment to these sections in The Book of Discipline and did so enthusiastically. The delegation encourages the laity and clergy of the Virginia Annual Conference to read these sections of The Book of Discipline as a source of renewal related to our common love of the church.
These foundational, team-building, and legislative conversations will continue as the calendar turns to 2022. In the new year, the delegation will meet with staff members from Wespath to hear about proposed changes to pensions and benefits for clergy and participating church staff. If the General Conference is not postponed again, the delegation will continue to meet in order to review proposed legislation and gain an informed perspective on legislation found in the Advanced Daily Christian Advocate. We look forward to the work ahead and will strive to represent Virginia well as the elected delegates of the General and Jurisdictional Conferences.