General Conference News

February 23, 2019



I've been told this is not an ordinary General Conference. Some of you may laugh and sarcastically say, "You're kidding, right?!?" Don't get me wrong. I understand this is a special called General Conference, and we are dealing with one of the most significant decisions we've faced in the last 50 years. However, when I've heard my communications colleagues, delegates, and observers talking about a different kind of GC, they weren't really talking about human sexuality. The common word I've been hearing is 'celebratory.' People are saying this GC isn't as celebratory as those they have attended in years past. When asked what they think is causing this, the overwhelming answer is stress and anxiety.


But I would like to give a little different perspective. Granted, this is my first ever General Conference, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I must say there were moments I was overwhelmed by the presence of the Holy Spirit.


One such moment was when I left the press box to go down and talk to Dr. Jerry Russell. Apparently, as I was in the elevator, the Bishops moved to the front of the stage, held hands, and began 'praying in the Holy Spirit.' By the time I made it to the concourse, people all across the arena were standing and praying aloud. At first, as I walked the lower bowl, I could hear voices barely above a whisper, but the longer I walked the sounds grew louder and bolder. I heard English, French, Swahili, German and Korean. At one point, I wanted to stop walking and begin videoing, but the moment was so overwhelming I could only stop and pray. There is no doubt in my mind the Holy Spirit was moving through our General Conference gathering.


At that moment, I believe all of the stress and anxiety had subsided. At that moment, I saw a picture of what the Church was supposed to look like. At that moment, our connectionalism was as strong as it has ever been. At that moment, I experienced Pentecost in a new and profound way.


All of this is to say, I guess I agree. This is not an ordinary General Conference, but maybe that's not a bad thing.


Be Hope,


Tim Jones

Director of Communications

Holston Conference of The United Methodist Church


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