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General Conference Reflection: Rev. Amy Wake

By Rev. Amy Wake, Acts of Repentance Chairperson

As a pastor of a small church in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I can only say that my General Conference experience was overwhelming, confusing, and in the end, rewarding.  General Conference is unlike any Methodist Conference I have ever been to: the process and rules are different than Annual Conference; the work is global with translations taking place in real time; and the politics sometimes left me baffled.  But in the end, it was like everything else Methodist… itʻs all about connections.

Rev. Won-Seok Yuh and I attended the 2024 General Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina to be resources for our petition for an Apology for the Illegal Overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.  We met General Secretaries and Bishops who supported our work. We connected with other justice organizations who helped spread the word including Methodist Federation for Social Action, Love Your Neighbor Coalition, the Filipino Caucus and the Western Jurisdictional Caucus.  We were interviewed by two United Methodist reporters (1, 2).  We distributed fliers and bookmarks to delegates to share our story.

The petition passed the legislative committee after several days of work on amendments.  At first, it was just a flurry of words and translations and votes.  But after all that was done, a committee delegate got up and shared her sadness about the need for this resolution.  She paused to pray for the Hawaiian people and the work we would do in the future.  It was the first time I felt truly heard; the first time I realized that these were not just words on a paper for the delegates as well, the first time I felt the backing of the United Methodist denomination for the healing of Hawaiʻi. The petition was passed by the whole General Conference by consent a few days later.  And all of our new friends celebrated with us.

We have a lot of work to do, but we are on our way.  Thank you to everyone who got us this far.  Special thanks to our District Superintendent Rev. Dr. Tom Choi and the whole AOR team.

Additional Reading:

  1. Hawaiians seek formal apology from The UMC (Western Jurisdiction)
  2. Apology OK’d for church role in Hawaiian history (UM News)
  3. Video Resource: Hawaiʻi Acts of Repentance (Cal-Pac)

Photo by Sonya Lee