General & Jurisdictional Conference Blog

Do you have a question about the changes to the Book of Discipline or Social Principles?

Bishops clarify statement on Commission on a Way Forward recommendation

Published on May 18, 2018 | by the Council of Bishops WASHINGTON, D.C. -  The Council of Bishops is issuing the following statement, written by the bishops who served on the Commission on a Way Forward, and approved by the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops...

United Methodist Clergywomen Respond to Amendments’ Defeat

[Originally published via Google Docs] In the past few days, United Methodist clergywomen have reached out to each other, sharing our deep sorrow at the news that the two constitutional amendments relating most closely to women and gender justice were not approved....

Error forces revote on failed constitutional amendment

By Kathy L. Gilbert | Originally published on May 11, 2018 (UMNS) Annual conference voters around the globe will be revoting on one of two constitutional amendments dealing with women’s equality. The revote was announced after the Ask The UMC team and United...

A Message from Bishop Bob

Dear Members and Friends of the Desert Southwest Conference, Grace and peace to you in the name and spirit of the Risen Christ! In a few weeks, the churches of the Desert Southwest Conference will join Christians all over the globe to celebrate the birthday of the...

United Methodist Bishops Recommend a Way Forward

May 4, 2018 CHICAGO – United Methodist bishops, meeting in Chicago, engaged in a prayerful process to discern a way forward.  At the conclusion of the discernment process, the Council of Bishops strongly approved the following motion and rationale: Having received and...

UMC Bishops to act on three major issues at Chicago meeting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 24, 2018 | Council of Bishops WASHINGTON, D.C. - The bishops of The United Methodist Church will meet in Chicago from April 29-May 4 to celebrate leadership through the passing of the gavel, certify constitutional amendments and finalize...

Commission on a Way Forward meets March 19-22 to prepare final report

PRESS RELEASE | MARCH 14, 2018 | Click here to download a PDF of this letter WASHINGTON D.C. – The 32-member Commission on a Way Forward will meet in Los Angeles on March 19-22 to prepare a final report to be submitted to the Council of the Bishops for consideration...

Bishops see progress in unity effort, focus on 2 plans

By Sam Hodges Feb. 28, 2018|DALLAS (UMNS) The Council of Bishops wrapped up a four-day meeting here as leaders reported progress in their deliberations about how to prevent denominational schism over homosexuality, with a focus on two possible church futures. [button...

Praying Our Way Forward

Bishop Bob and District Superintendents created video devotionals following the Word-of-the-Day schedule. You can share the Facebook video posts or download the videos and use them in some other creative way. How are you or your church praying? [button...

Praying Our Way Forward Devotional Videos

We’re hoping to resource church leaders the better than we have in the past and better than we're doing now. For that reason, the video devotionals for the Desert Southwest Conference were pre recorded so that they can be available in advance for download. Go...

Praying our way forward 3×3 with the Bishop & District Superintendents

Did you know that Bishop Bob and the District Superintendents will be leading prayer experiences online each week day at lunch time during the Conference-wide week of prayer? These gatherings will take place via Facebook Live. Open to the general public, each session...

Commission on a Way Forward issues a status report

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Commission on a Way Forward has released a status report to the Council of Bishops and the entire United Methodist Church (UMC), updating the church and the leaders on the faithful work of the Commission after four meetings. Find the status report in video and PDF form so that you can share this electronically, in worship, and in print.

Praying our Way Forward

Check out the new graphics available at A "Word of the Day" schedule will be posted very soon as a Word doc and PDF download so that your church can use it as a bulletin insert, in your weekly newsletter, on your social media,...

Praying our way forward – Part 2

We need you to help us prepare a Conference-wide week of prayer August 13th-19th, 2017. This prayer movement is a response to the Council of Bishops' initiative called, Praying Our Way Forward, as a way of prayerfully supporting our denomination during the work of the...

DSC Delegation Shares Results: Social Justice 1

By Jim Nibbelink, Lay Delegate With the arrival of 2017, we United Methodists are living by a new Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions. These documents are based on the actions of last year’s General Conference. So, what’s new? What’s different? What’s...

Commission on a Way Forward

Atlanta, Ga.: The Commission on a Way Forward held its first meeting in Atlanta, Georgia January 23-26, 2017, with 32 members from nine countries in attendance. Led by commission moderators Bishop David Yemba, Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball and Bishop Ken Carter, members...

Why We Voted For Bishop Oliveto

As the church’s highest court considers a challenge to her election, three delegates say she – someone with a deep faith, a love of the church, commitment to evangelism and experience as a pastor – was elected because of her qualifications and deep faith.

An Invitation to Prayer

The United Methodist Judicial Council will gather to consider a question related to last July’s election of Bishop Karen Oliveto, who was assigned by our Western Jurisdiction to serve the Mountain Sky Area. The oral hearing on the election of Bishop Oliveto will begin...

Yes, I Voted for Her

By Jim Nibbelink, Head of Delegation of the Desert Southwest Conference It’s been eight months since the Western Jurisdictional Conference elected Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto as a Bishop of The United Methodist Church. Bishop Oliveto has been faithfully and thoughtfully...

All hearts were moved

Mountain Sky Conference of The United Methodist Church: What a blessing and honor it was to be part of the Western Jurisdiction meeting this past July as we elected Bishop Karen Oliveto to the Episcopacy! While this election was historic in nature, none the less, we...

2016 DSC General & Jurisdictional Delegation Shares Results

As with every General Conference, the proposed changes to our Social Principles are many and when passed, affect our Conference and local church work on justice issues. Reports and proposed legislation affecting Church & Society comprised over 200 pages for consideration at the 2016 session. Significant changes as noted by the General Board of Church & Society are as follows:


Local churches are encouraged to adopt a policy of zero tolerance for all types of bullying. Remember to include cyber-bullying in your policy. The following statement can guide us in our policy development.

“We affirm the right of all people regardless of gender, socio-economic status, race, religion, disability, age, physical appearance, sexual orientation and gender identity to be free of unwanted aggressive behavior and harmful control tactics.” (

Many of our local church youth leaders address bullying with our youth regularly. Your Conference Council on Youth Ministry, led by (St. Mark’s UMC / Tucson) has addressed bullying annually for a number of years now. We must remember that youth are not the only victims of bullying.

Family Violence

Our churches have been asked to work with abusers, helping them (and us) to understand root causes and forms of abuse and to help them overcome negative behaviors. The Principles in Section 161 on Family Violence now reads,

“Regardless of the cause or the abuse, both the victim and the abuser need the love of the church. While we deplore the actions of the abuser, we affirm that person to be in need of God’s redeeming love.” (

A number of our Conference Outreach teams are already addressing the difficult question of how to be an effective Christian witness and source of help to abusers. Children & Poverty and the Anti-Human Trafficking groups hold this topic of outreach as a priority. But many questions remain, not the least of which is how our churches can fully comply with Safe Sanctuary policies as we minister to abusers.


Paragraph 162.H on Immigration was amended to add a statement opposing all national immigration policies that separate family members or that include detention of families with children. The general church asks that local churches be in ministry with immigrant families.

Our Conference, while historically has been involved in immigration issues for many years, has strongly responded to these same needs with recent actions, some in the planning long before this amendment. Our South District is responding to the needs of immigrants with The Inn Project ( Our Immigration Task Force (Ella Rawls, Chair) is in the process of establishing a Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) legal clinic. We will join the network of JFON clinics already established throughout the country. JFON attorneys and volunteers advocate for immigrants on issues of social justice, assist immigrants by providing high-quality immigration services, advocate for immigrant rights, and offer education to communities of faith and the general public. The clinic will be located in the Tucson area. Currently, the team is working on raising sustainable funding for this effort.


Our denomination added language to the Social Principles that both defines and denounces pornography. The statement reads,

“We oppose all forms of pornography and consider its use a form of sexual misconduct. Pornography is sexually explicit material that portrays violence, abuse, coercion, domination, humiliation, or degradation for the purpose of sexual arousal.” (

The Conference Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (Lynn Wallesky – AZ Chair) specifically centered some of its work on this topic and presented at the 2017 West District Leadership event on the link between human trafficking and pornography. Members of the task force and staff Billie Fidlin are available to come to local churches to discuss this grave topic. The reference the group is using is “Pornland” by Gail Dines. Warning: the book is very graphic and a most difficult read; however it is an excellent resource that will provide churches with a complete understanding of the industry.


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