The United Methodist Church’s top legislative body will meet at the Oregon Convention Center, the largest convention center in the Pacific Northwest, on May 10-20, 2016.
The General Conference is an international body of nearly 1,000 delegates that meets every four years. The delegates are elected by annual conferences (at annual conference sessions) to attend General Conference. They represent all annual conferences around the world. Half of the delegates are laity (non-clergy members), half are clergy.
Bishops attend the General Conference but cannot vote. Different bishops serve as presiding officers during the conference. Other bishops cannot speak unless permission is specifically granted by the delegates.
During General Conference, delegates discuss and vote on petitions and resolutions proposed by individuals, agencies, annual conferences, and other groups within the denomination. These actions result in a revision of the Book of Discipline, the denomination’s book of law, and Book of Resolutions, policies of the denomination on current social issues.
It is at General Conference where delegates wrestle with today’s issues in light of scriptural teachings and the church’s understanding of that teaching. Here is where the church’s official stands and church policies are made regarding such issues as human sexuality, abortion, war and peace, as well as determination of ministries and funding.
The 2016 mobile app is available for both Android and iOS devices. The iOS app, available on the iTunes store, will work on all Apple devices running iOS 7.1 or above.
The Android app, available on the Google Play store, works on all Android devices running Android 2.3.3 or above. The apps will help interested people keep up-to-date on the latest developments as General Conference nears. Additional features will be added, with the first update performed in January, 2016. Some of these include maps, schedules and petition tracking. The final update is scheduled for April, 2016.
Delegates and others can follow the proceedings on the General Conference website at http://gc2016.umc.org (or umc.org/gc2016). You can also follow General Conference on Facebook and Twitter using #UMCGC.
Features will include news coverage in multiple languages, with daily summaries, feature stories and videos, such as interviews with delegates, volunteers and other key individuals. All plenary sessions, worship services, episcopal and laity addresses, and other special events will be streamed live. Users can track petitions and obtain general information about the legislative process. Plenary transcripts and consent calendars will post each day.
A daily schedule of events will be posted, as well as practical information for delegates and visitors, such as information about Portland, the convention center and maps. Multimedia videos and photos from conference events will post. Delegates can go to the website to find committee assignments, seating changes and the delegate list. Journalists can access a glossary, background on General Conference and credentialing procedures.
In 2016, the Advance Daily Christian Advocate will also have a digital component and be available in the electronic publication (EPUB) format, which allows copious digital note taking for anyone with a tablet.