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The United Methodist General Conference 2012 starts

The highest policy setting body of the United Methodist Church begins this April 28 – May 4, 2012 in Tampa, Florida, USA with the theme “Make Disciples of Jesus Christ to Transform the World”.

There are major issues which will be decided on this conference one of which is the re-structuring of our general church. The major change is the restructuring of our general agencies from 13 body to 9 that aims to address the major issue of our church especially the decline of the US churches and the direction of the church to revitalize local congregations.

The proposed new agencies or centers are as follows

The new center would have five offices; four would relate to the Four Areas of Focus adopted by the 2008 General Conference. The proposed offices are:

– Office of Shared Services, which would include the essential functions of the General Council on Finance and Administration, United Methodist Communications and other agencies’ communications staff, the General Commission on Archives and History and the denomination’s information and technology support.

– Office of Congregational Vitality, encompassing the essential functions of the General Board of Discipleship and multicultural ministries (Focus: New Places and People).

– Office of Leadership Excellence, encompassing much of the work currently done by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (Focus: Developing Leaders).

– Office of Missional Engagement, responsible for much of the work of the General Board of Global Ministries, including global health, missionaries, Volunteers in Mission and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (Focus: Global Health).

– Office of Justice and Reconciliation, encompassing the essential functions of the General Board of Church and Society, the General Commission on Religion and Race and the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (Focus: Ministry with the Poor).

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Another issue that will be seeking approval is the removal of the guarantee of the clergy for church appointments. For clergy especially the ordained are guaranteed of church appointment that according to the study is a hindrance for church growth and vitality because the appointing authority cannot assign pastors to appropriate churches.

But one issue that STPPACE needs to watch out is the recognition of the STPPACE as provisional annual conference because according to Bishop Arichea that STPPACE is illegitimate because it was only created by the Central Conference. According to the Book of Discipline, the denominational law book, that provisional annual conferences are created by the General Conference. The remedy is that hopefully that this General Conference will first approved the creation of STPPACE so the delegates will have a voting seat. And hopefully that STPPACE would not just be recognize but would have support for its mission and ministries.

Currently, Rev. Igmedio Domingo Jr is the clergy delegates is present in the general conference along with other Filipino delegates.


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