As mentioned in earlier posts The One Church Plan which would allow local churches to make their own decision about same-sex marriage and pastors would be able to make his or her own decision about whether to do same-sex marriages. This plan did not pass through the legislative committee yesterday, but was brought forth today as a minority report. Dr. Tom Berlin, a pastor in the Virginia Conference, presented this report and urged delegates to vote for the One Church plan or to abstain from voting if they could not, in good conscience, vote for it. After the votes were cast the One Church Plan failed to pass. It will not be able to be passed at this point.
This afternoon the delegates of the General Conference will continue to work through the proposals which passed yesterday. They will be amended, and ultimately voted up or down. We General Conference must adjourn at 6:30 PM based on our standing rules and also because the arena in which we are meeting will be used for a Monster Truck Rally this weekend and there are dump trucks of dirt poised to come in and radically change this place (it’s hard to make this stuff up). This time limit means that it is possible that all of the proposals will not be able to be considered. This is a common problem at General Conferences. It is hard to slowly work through legislation and be done when you have to be done.
One of the fears about this Conference that some have had that we would gather and nothing will really get passed. It seemed overly optimistic that this decades long debate could be figured out in the course of four days. I’ve heard some say that the worst thing that could happen is nothing. I’m not so sure that is true. There will be another General Conference in 2020 where further work can be offered on these challenges. I’m grateful that in our local church in Mobile, AL we continue to be focused on our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world: love God, love people, and change the world.