General Conference: What It Means to United Methodists

By January 27, 2016Conference News

Darcy Deupree

“Not only has being involved at all levels of the United Methodist Church helped me develop and grow in my faith, but it has also given me an even larger appreciation and understanding of what it means to be a United Methodist.”

— Darcy Deupree, member of the delegation

As alternate to General Conference, delegate to Jurisdictional Conference, and member of the Central Texas Conference (our own CTC) delegation, Darcy Deupree is no stranger to the United Methodist Church (UMC) and all its values. Darcy grew up at FUMCFW, and she says that becoming involved at all the conference levels was an exciting next step for her. This makes the second time Darcy has been elected as lay delegate to Jurisdictional Conference, which is the regional body of the United Methodist Church that chooses new bishops. “When I moved back I wanted to get involved, and it was really interesting to me on the conference level to learn what we’re all about and what that means to our church,” Darcy says. “I wanted to be part of the delegation as a learning experience — to grow and learn about the structure, values, and faith of the United Methodist Church. I am honored to be part of the delegation, and to learn more about how it all works and how everything fits.”

General Conference, the top policy-making body of the UMC, is an important worldwide gathering of our church. Every four years, the conference meets to revise church law; adopt resolutions on current moral, social, public policy, and economic issues; and approve plans and budgets for churchwide programs. For the upcoming 2016 General and Jurisdictional Conferences, Dr. Tim Bruster was the first clergy to be elected as a delegate; in this role he will lead the entire Central Texas Conference delegation to General Conference 2016. This is a pivotal leadership role in our conference and in our denomination nationwide.

To Darcy, General Conference is always an exciting event that happens in the life of any United Methodist. “That’s when everyone from the worldwide church gets together to make decisions about the whole church and decide what needs to be done to develop disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world,” Darcy explains. “It is a connection as United Methodists where people from all over the world get to come together.”

The 2016 United Methodist General Conference will be held in Portland, Oregon, from May 10 – 20, and we want you to be in the know about it. Darcy thinks one of the most important parts of this conference will be really looking at how the UMC is structured as far as conferences go. “I think it’s important to stay informed and know what’s happening to understand the structure of the United Methodist Church, the potential for changes, and some of the different changes that could happen to give us more control at the local church level,” Darcy declares. She believes you also have to understand the significance of general church nature. For instance, Africa is very conservative in nature, so the issues are completely different to them. “It is important for us to understand the global nature of the church, and how it works and plays an impact on the decisions that are made.”

Where do we stand on these issues as a diverse faith community? How can we “come together” as United Methodists in support of those who will gather to deliberate over this conference’s decisions and initiatives? Click here for a preview of what to expect at this General Conference.

Dr. Tim Bruster, Leader of the Central Texas Conference 2016 General Conference Delegation, and Mr. Tom Harkrider, First-Elected Lay Delegate, will be leading a special informational meeting in Wesley Hall on Sunday, February 7, at 9:30 am and during eleven:eleven celebration. As a follow-up to these churchwide presentations, including a time for questions, our General Conference Task Force will offer two special “Luncheon and Dialogue Gatherings.” The first gathering will be led by Dr. Rebecca Miles and task force members on Sunday, February 21. Darcy and task force members will lead the second gathering on Sunday, March 6. Both gatherings will take place at noon in Room 350, and there will be a $5 charge at the door for a box lunch.

Please join us for all of these important sessions to find out more about our General Conference. As Darcy puts it, the presentations are your opportunity to come and learn about what the delegation is going to be discussing and what the worldwide church sees as important issues right now. “Learn about it before it hits the news and everything is discussed,” Darcy advises. “That way we can seep through the issues as a church as the delegation is seeping through them, and have more dialogue to better understand them.”

Read Darcy’s blog for her take on how United Methodists meet to shape the direction of our church — and be sure to follow Darcy during General Conference 2016! For more information, contact Rev. Chuck Graff (cgraff@myfumc.org) at 817/339-5065.

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