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United Methodist Bishop Grant Hagiya welcomes participants to the Pre-General Conference Briefing in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

United Methodist Bishop Grant Hagiya welcomes participants to the Pre-General Conference Briefing in Portland, Oregon.

Preparing for General Conference: Understanding the issues

By Laura Buchanan*

Exciting and sometimes vast in scope, General Conference is just around the corner, and United Methodist Communications is here to help delegates prepare for the experience. Two resources are available that outline the important topics that will be part of the conference, offering overview information and firsthand details about legislation and its impact on The United Methodist Church connection.

2016 General Conference Media Guide

Offered as a free .pdf file, the media guide is a comprehensive look at General Conference, including a summary of the key topics and legislation that will be at the heart of delegate work.

Major issues outlined in the guide that await delegate discussion include:

  • Church structure
  • Worldwide nature of the church
  • Clergy matters
  • Human sexuality
  • New hymnal
  • Sustainable and responsible investments
  • Church budget

The guide also offers helpful information about logistics and General Conference specifics, such as the conference schedule and special event details.

Pre-General Conference Briefing video archive

In January, delegates gathered in Portland for a time of preparation at the Pre-General Conference Briefing. The event offered a chance to focus on important issues that will be at the center of May’s legislative gathering.

The briefing offered a time of conversation about key topics by presenting varying viewpoints and diversity of thought. Detailing the differing opinions on legislation, and allowing for delegate questions, was a significant learning opportunity for all in attendance, building understanding and appreciation for the complexity of each issue.

Nineteen videos from the briefing are available online, each of which focuses on a different topic facing delegates at the conference.

*Laura Buchanan is a public relations specialist at United Methodist Communications, Nashville, Tennessee.