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Message from Bishop Escobedo-Frank: General Conference Update May 4

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May 4, 2024

Dear California-Pacific Conference,

Greetings to you on this beautiful day in Charlotte, North Carolina. I am finishing up meetings with the Council of Bishops and will be flying back to Los Angeles on Sunday. Before getting on the plane, I want to send you a message.

First, I want you to know that the spirit of General Conference was respectful, loving, and an outward expression of what holy conferencing is all about. From the very start, we could sense that the spirit of the Lord was in the house! The delegates did their good work before they arrived and during the two weeks in Charlotte. They brought forward legislation that will form our next expression of The United Methodist Church.

Three main areas were addressed.

Regionalization was passed. This will help us to be able to be a global church while also respecting the contextual needs of communities around the world, and it shows our willingness to live alongside each other as people who are different, and as people who love each other in our differences and similarities. Regionalization will require ratification in each of the Annual Conferences around the world before the process is complete.

The revised Social Principles was passed. This document has had major revisions, is simpler, and it removes previous language that was harmful. The Social Principles is not law, but rather a set of guidelines we utilize as we consider how God is leading us in the world.

The removal of harmful language throughout The Discipline was completed. This is a work that has been ongoing for decades. No longer will our rules bring harm to our LGBTQAI+ siblings in Christ. There is reason to rejoice when we live out the Three Simple Rules: Do good; Do no harm; Stay in love with God.

We also addressed the budget and noted new ways we can meet our mission with changes in our fiscal realities. We are beginning to work on Acts of Repentance for Hawaii. More of the details of all these things will be available in the near future for you to read and digest. It is important to say it is a new day in The United Methodist Church, and there it is felt and experienced “hearts being strangely warmed” by God’s love.

Tomorrow I will get on the plane. My body is tired but my soul is joyful. United Methodists all around the world met, worshipped and prayed together, and listened to each other’s wisdom and pain. We became embodied as one, though spread throughout the world. That is the miracle of God’s grace!

I will see you soon.

Grace y paz,