Yesterday was a little tough for our Western Jurisdiction and Cal-Pac Annual Conference. The Prioritization process lifted the Traditional Plan and petitions to disaffiliate from the UMC ahead of all others. This means that they will be taken up first by the legislative body which is the entire delegation of the Special Called Session.
It is disappointing because 40% of the Traditional Plan was ruled unconstitutional and the disaffiliation petitions are clearly designed to allow churches to leave the UMC. As we worked through the very tedious legislative process today it became clear that the body, especially our Central Conference delegates were leaning toward a traditional ethos.
This was borne out in the following legislative process. The Traditional Plan passed by a 56% to 44% margin, and likewise the One Church Plan was defeated by a similar margin: 53% to 46% (loss by 50 votes). It is clear that the Central Conference delegates sided with the traditional forces to approve the Traditional Plan and defeat the One Church Plan.
I remind everyone that this is not over, as the legislative process moves to the plenary tomorrow for debate and approval. If the sentiment of the body holds up tomorrow as today, then it may follow a similar pathway or not. At least the body decided to allow the Simple Plan (the other more progressive LGBTQI inclusion plan) to be debated by the body.
The other unknown factor is as I have already mentioned the Traditional Plan has already been ruled 40% Unconstitutional and the Traditional Plan was accepted without any major amendments to these Unconstitutional issues. What the Judicial Council’s response is unknown at this time, but 40% has already been ruled on.
I know that this action by the body is both disappointing and appreciated by members of our annual conference depending on where they stand on this issue. What I am urging is that we hold steady until we know what the final decisions we are facing as a church and what our options might be. In all honesty, I am personally disappointed, but remain faithful as a United Methodist, and I pray that everyone will also hold steady with me at this time.
Stay with Hope,
Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop