With all U.S. annual conferences now having completed voting on 32 constitutional amendments passed by last year’s United Methodist General Conference, the UM renewal organization Good News is projecting that at least 24 amendments will be defeated, including all six of the most controversial measures.
Those six include five amendments that would have restructured the UMC into a series of regional conferences (Amendments IV, X, XIII, XXIII, and XVI), and one that would have liberalized membership requirements (Amendment I).
In a July 8 web posting, Good News notes that 48 of the 62 U.S. conferences have published the results of their voting. Those 48 conferences represent “at least 86% of the total votes cast in the U.S. and approximately 80% of the votes worldwide,” Good News says.
[UPDATE: Good News posted an update on July 17, noting that now 50 U.S. conferences, “representing at least 88% of the total votes cast in the US and approximately 82% of the votes worldwide, have publicly shared with all United Methodists their vote tallies on the proposed amendments.”]
In other words, there are not enough votes remaining among non-published U.S. votes and potential votes from conferences outside the U.S. to change the outcome for those amendments that have already received a substantial percentage of “no” votes.
“[T]he last time annual conferences worldwide voted on a constitutional matter [in 2005], there were approximately 2,000 total votes cast in the central [i.e., non-U.S.] conferences,” Good News notes. “Given the heightened interest in the current proposed amendments and the dramatic growth in many annual conferences beyond the U.S., it seems possible that as many as 3,000 to 4,000 votes may come from the central conferences this year.”
But even if all those votes went in favor of amendments that now appear to have been defeated, the outcome would not change.
To be enacted, a proposed amendment to the United Methodist Constitution must be approved by two-thirds (66.67%) of the voting delegates to the denomination’s 135 annual conferences.
As things stand now, the five restructuring amendments have garnered affirmative votes from only slightly more than one-third of delegates. (The strongest showing for any restructuring amendment is a 37% “yes” vote.)
Amendment I has fared better, receiving a 48% “yes” vote, but still well short of the two-thirds majority required. (A tally from the pro-Amendment-I Reconciling Ministries Network shows the amendment garnering a 50% “yes” vote.)
In a July 2 letter to Good News supporters, Rob Renfroe, the renewal ministry’s new president, calls the defeat of the six controversial amendments “an important and stunning victory.”
One measure that appears to be on its way to passage is Amendment XIX, a proposed constitutional amendment that Good News supports. Amendment XIX would extend to certain local pastors and provisional members the right to vote for clergy delegates to the General and Jurisdictional conferences. Thus far, that measure has garnered a 77% affirmative vote.
The final results of the vote on the proposed constitutional amendments will not be announced or certified until the Council of Bishops meets in November.
[UPDATE: The United Methodist News Service reported July 30 that the certification will not occur until the Council of Bishop meeting in May 2010.]
Below is a list of all 135 UMC annual conferences. If a conference name has a link assigned, click the link to see the results from that conference’s vote on the proposed constitutional amendments. (If you know of web-published results that are not linked below, please e-mail the URL to MethodistThinker.com.)
A one-page spreadsheet with tallies of the published results for Amendments I, IV, X, XIII, XIX, XXIII, XVI is here (PDF).
|Alabama-West Florida (PDF)
Bicol Philippines Provisional
Central Pennsylvania (PDF)
Czech & Slovak Republics
Dakotas (PDF, p. 4)
Desert Southwest (PDF)
East Mindanao Philippines
East Ohio (PDF)
Eastern Russia & Kazakhstan Prov
Greater New Jersey
Illinois Great Rivers
Iowa (PDF, p. 2)
North Carolina (PDF)
North Central New York
North Central Philippines
North Texas (PDF)
Northeast Luzon Philippines
Northwest Mindanao Philippines
Northwest Russia Provisional
Oklahoma (amendment #’s not
consistent w/ other conferences)
Oklahoma Indian Missionary
Oregon-Idaho (PDF, p. 16)
Oriental & Equator
Pacific Northwest (PDF)
Quezon City Philippines East
Red Bird Missionary
Rio Grande (PDF)
South Africa Provisional
South Georgia (PDF)
Southern Russia Provisional
Southern Tagalog Provisional
Southwest Philippines Provisional
Ukraine & Moldova Provisional
West Middle Philippines
West Virginia (PDF, p. 3)
Western New York
Western North Carolina (PDF)
Western Pennsylvania (Excel)
|•||Bill Bouknight: Methodists are saying ‘No’ to their leaders|
|•||North Georgia overwhelmingly disapproves restructuring amendments|
|•||Ed Tomlinson: Proposed amendments would ‘decimate connectionalism’|
|•||Maxie Dunnam, Eddie Fox release videos on proposed amendments|
|•||African UM leader on amendments: ‘We should have been consulted’|
|•||A ‘procedural’ argument against Amendment I|
Related articles and information
|•||Full text of all 32 amendments, showing how each would alter the current language of the United Methodist Book of Discipline—material stricken through would be deleted; material in bold/blue would be added (PDF)|
|•||We Confess newsletter (PDF) | Confessing Movement (May/June 2009)|
|•||Worldwide decision: United Methodists to vote on amending constitution | Bill Fentum, UM Reporter (April 10, 2009)|
|•||Which way to a Worldwide Church? (PDF) | Andrew Thompson, Gen-X Rising blog (May 31, 2009)|
|•||A rationale to oppose proposed constitutional changes | Tim McClendon, Columbia District Superintendent, South Carolina Conference|
|•||The worldwide Methodist movement | Eddie Fox, Interpreter Magazine (Web-only article—March 31, 2009)|
|•||Conferences to consider church structure | Linda Green, United Methodist News Service (March 10, 2009)|
|•||Amendment I (without the baggage) (PDF) | Andrew Thompson, Gen-X Rising blog (May 18, 2009)|
|•||United Methodism in crisis: Scriptural renewal through the Good News Movement | Chapter 4 of Public Pulpits: Methodists and Mainline Churches in the Moral Argument of Public Life by Steven M. Tipton (University of Chicago Press, 2008 — via Google Books)|
|•||40 years of vision for United Methodist reformation and renewal (PDF) | James V. Heidinger II, Good News (November/December 2007)|