Non-Binding Resolutions Pass


Two non-binding resolutions that were part of a coordinated national effort came before the Missouri Conference Session this year. 

The resolutions were submitted according to the Conference’s 2022 Standing Rules, and Bishop Robert Farr ruled they are in order and may be considered by the Session. While both resolutions encourage revisions to The United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline, the Missouri Annual Conference does not have the authority to make such changes. Instead, both resolutions invite the Missouri Annual Conference to communicate the body’s approval or disapproval of an idea. 

The United Methodist Judicial Council, in decision 1052, stated that “Annual conferences are free to express their ideals and opinions as long as they do not attempt to negate, ignore, or contradict the Discipline,” and in decision 1120 affirmed that “an annual conference may adopt a resolution on human sexuality that is aspirational in nature.” In subsequent decisions (e.g., 1340, 1406), the Judicial Council has continued to affirm that annual conferences may adopt aspirational resolutions. 

Both resolutions considered by the Session are purely aspirational, and neither will by itself result in any change to the Book of Discipline.

The first non-binding resolution recommends to the General Conference that a regional conference be created for the United States that would allow U.S.-specific matters to be handled outside of the General Conference. 

Rev. Kent Wilfong spoke against the resolution, expressing concern that the new conference structure could create more barriers between people, and he would rather see the United Methodist Church moving toward more unity. 

Rev. Matt Miofsky spoke in favor of the resolution, saying he had participated in multiple General Conferences and seen the session get mired down in details specific to the United States that don’t apply to the global body. 

“A lot needs to change, and we can’t change if we don’t fix the process to make change easier,” he said. 

The resolution passed with 535 in favor and 127 opposed. 

The second resolution called for removing harmful language from the Book of Discipline regarding matters of human sexuality. There was a speech against the resolution and a speech in favor, and then a motion was made to call the question by Rev. Paul Klepees of Hatton. This motion passed, 527 in favor and 117 opposed. A vote was then taken on the resolution, and it passed 499 in favor and 213 opposed.