There are 48 clergy and lay delegates representing the annual conferences of The United Methodist Church in the Philippines that are expected to attend the General Conference on April 24-May 4, 2012 in Tampa, Florida
However, as of today, April 2, three delegates from the Baguio and Manila Episcopal Areas may not be able to attend due to Visa problems. We are happy that all the annual conferences from the Davao Episcopal Area represented.
The decisions on the issues to be dealt with by the delegates will surely affect the future of The United Methodist Church.
One big issue is the res-structuring of the general agencies, removing the general agencies board of directors and put all the general agencies under one board. The rationale of this proposal is to save money and make the board more effective by appointing people who are expert and knowledgeable in running a global church , just like a big multinational corporations. My perspective as one that comes from the Central Conference is that this proposal eliminates what representation can contributes to the mission of the body of Christ. I feel that this kind of structure kind will only benefit an American church, not a global or worldwide church.
Another important issue is on homosexuality. The proponents of the proposal of that we accept the practice of marrying person of the same sex and permitting our clergy to solemnize this kind of marriage in our churches are increasing in the past general conference. The delegates from Africa and from the Philippines together with the conservative United Methodist in the US will again continue to oppose any petitions on this proposal of accepting homosexuality in the faith and practice of The United Methodist Church.
Other important proposals that the Philippines churches are concern is on the ordained Ministry. There is a proposal to make ordination available to local pastors who have completed their educational requirements, and who prefers to remain as local pastor rather than become a member of the conference. Other proposal has something to do with eliminating guaranteed appointed to the clergy full members of the conference. The rationale for this proposal is to give the cabinet of the Bishop better appointment of clergy to the local churches. Pastors who have problems in their ministry, not effective in their work, will be ask to go on leave or not given an appointment at all.
These are just some of the issues to be discuss at legislative committee meetings and be voted upon at the plenary session.
I suggest that you include this General Conference in our prayers and follow up the progress and updates of all the issues in the General Conference by looking at it on: http://www.umc.org