By: Christa Meland
Members of Annual Conference debated and voted on a number of pieces of legislation on Thursday. Here’s a synopsis of key items, all of which were approved by the voting body:
New Annual Conference location in 2020: This action changes the location of the 2020 Annual Conference session to Sioux Falls, South Dakota so that the Minnesota and Dakotas Annual Conferences can engage in two shared days of learning, worship, and celebration. The first day will be the Minnesota Conference only, working on its specific agenda, and days two and three would be shared days of learning, worship, and celebration.
Prevention of gun violence: This resolution, brought by the Minnesota Conference Church and Society Ministry Team, affirms that the conference will take an active role in the prevention of gun violence. The legislation stipulates that opportunities for churches to take leadership include: prayerfully and worshipfully engaging in conversation and action using General Board of Church and Society materials; offering prayer and support to victims of gun violence; working with local schools, law enforcement and/or other organizations to be leaders in changing the culture that has accepted gun violence as the norm and work towards promoting the value of life; working with gun owners to ensure gun safety; and supporting various legislative efforts.
Advocating for the rights of children living under Israeli occupation: This resolution, brought by the Minnesota Conference Palestine-Israel Justice Project and Church and Society teams, affirms that the conference endorses the work of the Palestine/Israel Justice Project (PIJP) in considering how the conference should best respond to the issue of child incarceration, including how best to educate United Methodists, whether and how to interact with lawmakers about proposed legislation, and whether the conference should dissociate financially from entities at home or abroad that profit from child imprisonment. The resolution also stipulates that the conference receive a report on PIJP’s findings and recommendation on this subject, including recommendations that should be directed to the United Methodist General Conference in 2020.
Increase in minimum salary for clergy: This action increases the base minimum salary for full-time clergy under appointment to a formula of 62 percent of the conference average compensation and stipulates that this formula be phased in over two years, with a minimum salary of $39,148 in 2019 and $40,552 in 2020; the minimum salary in all future years would be 62 percent of the conference average compensation.
Members also approved a request that Rev. Walter Lockhart brought forth for a declaratory decision from the United Methodist Church Judicial Council related to mandatory registration fees for all non-delegates who will attend and observe the 2019 special session of General Conference. One specific question posed was whether the fees function as an “unlawful economic obstruction to the openness and accountability function” of being present to participate.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church