Bishop Malone's Post General Conference Message

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At the Special Session of the General Conference in St. Louis, called to receive and act upon a report from the Commission on a Way Forward and recommendations of the Council of Bishops, delegates voted 438-384 to approve the Traditional Plan.

Read the Mission, Vision, and Scope article that shaped the Commission’s work. Read the Final Report from the Commission on a Way Forward that outlines the work of the Commission and contains details on each of three proposed plans:

One Church Plan

  • The One Church Plan takes a relational and compatibilist approach to unity, emphasizing external mission by removing internal conflict.
  • The restrictions underlying current conflicts are deemed “nonessential matters” over which we can agree to disagree.
  • This plan would remove from The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church prohibitions against same-gender weddings and ordination of “self-avowed practicing homosexuals,” and adds protections for bishops and clergy wishing not to officiate at these ordinations or weddings.

Connectional Conference Plan

  • The Connectional Conference Plan replaces the current five geographical jurisdictions with three connectional conferences, based on perspectives on sexuality: Progressive, Traditional, and Unity.
  • These connectional conferences would: each use a general Book of Discipline with the ability to adapt other portions to their context for ministry; and be separate legal entities (501(c)3 organizations) but deemed part of one United Methodist Church.
  • This plan requires Constitutional amendments, therefore, implementation would not be complete until 2025.

Traditionalist Plan

  • The Traditionalist Plan retains, strengthens, and enforces current prohibitions on same-sex marriage and gay ordination.
  • The plan both invites and forces annual conferences who are progressive on matters of same-sex marriage to leave The United Methodist Church to create new denomination.
  • This plan allows other Annual Conferences and/or Local Churches to leave and create new denomination(s) for any reason, with these new “Self-Governing Methodist Churches” eligible for concordat relationship and token representation at General Conference.


View an in-depth comparison of the three Plans.