Every four years, thousands of people from Free Methodist Churches across the United States and around the world gather for General Conference to connect with brothers and sisters in Christ and consider important business that impacts the Free Methodist Church around the world. From July 16-19, over 2300 people joined together in Orlando, Florida – with many thousands more across the globe online – to worship our creator, pray for His church, and consider how God would move in and through the people and ministries of the Free Methodist Church.
A Unique Presence
Southern California was uniquely represented this year across all areas of General Conference. From the team at Light & Life West leading worship to conference members teaching, sharing devotionals, and leading panels, the Free Methodist Church in Southern California (FMCSC) had a presence that made an impact. Delegates from the conference were an important voice during business sessions, standing up for the dignity of persons across all walks of life, even presenting for consideration changes to our shared Book of Discipline that would explicitly recognize God’s call to care for the impoverished, immigrants, refugees, and those in bondage spiritually, physically, and systemically. In all, over thirty people from our conference directly gave voice and leadership to this General Conference and we are grateful to be a part of this wonderful and gifted team.
Wednesday and Thursday mornings were used for business sessions where delegates and Conference leadership gathered to discuss and vote on changes to polity (how the people of the church live and work together) and elect new leaders. General Conference 2019 was unprecedented with all three Bishops – Bishops David Kendall, David Roller, and Matthew Thomas – retiring from their current leadership positions over the Free Methodist Church USA. After significant prayer and consideration, representatives elected Linda Adams (the first woman ever elected to the Bishopric in the Free Methodist Church), Keith Cowart, and Matt Whitehead to serve as Bishops for the next four years, starting Fall of 2019.
During both business sessions time was spent discussing resolutions submitted by regional Conference delegations to the Board of Administration. While over 60 resolutions were brought before the Board of Administration for consideration, special time was given to consider clarifications to the language of the Book of Discipline regarding the definition of marriage within the Free Methodist Church, sanctity of life with special regards to capital punishment, the dignity of persons, and changes to the Common Constitution.
To find out more about the resolutions submitted and approved, please visit the General Conference Resolutions and Reports page.
In addition to the corporate business sessions during the morning, regional delegations gathered to nominate leadership for national boards and committees. Southern California delegates Hal Conklin, Rukshan Fernando, and Superintendent Glen Prior were elected to the Board of Administration.
Be Part of General Conference
Even if you didn’t get a chance to attend General Conference 2019, you can still be a part of the experience! One of the most important ways you can get involved is through prayer for our local and national leaders and the ministries the Free Methodist supports and partners with. Additionally, as the FMCSC continues to seek to accurately represent the church, pray for continued growth in diversity at every level of leadership. Finally, more than ever the world needs believers who openly live and advocate for the freedoms and distinctives core to the Free Methodist Church. Pray that the church continues to be a beacon of freedom to the world.
Talk with Your Delegates
There’s so much more to General Conference than speakers and business sessions. One of the best ways to find out more about General Conference and what it’s like to be part of it is to contact a delegate. Not sure who that might be? Contact the FMCSC team.
Attend Annual Conference
Each May, Free Methodist leaders, representatives, members, and ministry partners gather together for a two-day experience that mirrors much of the General Conference experience but at a local level. It’s an exciting time to worship together, consider where God is leading us, and make new friends from around Southern California and beyond. Make sure to watch for save-the-date emails coming soon.
If you missed a session or simply want to share something you experienced with a friend, make sure to check out these online resources, available any time of day, all year.