Proposed Rule Change for 2023
Following a request from Bishop Shelton to decrease debate and conflict at Annual Conference 2023, the Resolutions Chair has submitted a requested rule change to the Rules Committee. If recommended by the committee and approved by the Annual Conference in June, this change would mean that this year’s submitted resolutions would be included in the Conference Workbook, presented to the Conference, and members would be encouraged to take the resolutions back to their home churches for consideration and possible action. However, we would not debate or amend the resolutions as a body, nor would we vote on them.
Since we will not be voting on resolutions, any individual, church, or group interested in submitting legislation to General Conference should follow the guidelines established and provided by General Conference.
What is a resolution?
Every year, members of the North Carolina Annual Conference meet to fellowship and address the business of the Conference. Part of that business takes the form of considering resolutions. Resolutions deal with issues affecting the lives of members of the Conference, but also the lives of our neighbors. They can also consider the issues that relate to the global United Methodist Church. By passing a resolution, we are able to communicate to the media, elected leaders, and General Conference the will of the majority of delegates from the churches of the North Carolina Annual Conference.
A resolution has two main parts: a series of “Whereas” statements followed by a series of “Be it resolved” statements. Generally speaking, the “Whereas” statements should establish the factual basis for our concerns, using such sources as Scripture, The Book of Discipline, media reports, and other reference materials. The “Be it resolved” statements, reflecting on the facts established in the “Whereas” statements, say what we should do in response to these facts.
“Be it resolved” statements cannot seek to legislate or set policy for the Annual Conference. If you would like to change the rules of the Conference or the decision of various Conference committees or agencies, you must make such a request as a motion during the appropriate report. For instance, a resolution cannot dictate how money in the Conference budget is spent; such a change would have to be proposed as a motion in the Finance report.
Instead, resolutions can urge (but not force) members and churches in the Conference to do something, notify elected leaders of the stance of the Conference, urge the General Conference to change The Book of Discipline, etc. Be sure your resolution is specific in what you want the Annual Conference to do.
Resolutions are an opportunity for the Annual Conference to articulate a stance and urge actions in response.
Who can submit a resolution?
Any clergy member of the North Carolina Annual Conference or lay member of a Conference church, along with church boards and committees and Conference boards and agencies, can submit a resolution. However, individuals working on resolutions should consider submitting them first to other organizations for reflection, discussion, and refinement. For example, you may wish to take your resolution to your Church Council and have them submit the resolution after such discussion and refinement takes place.
Each person or organization, apart from official Conference boards and agencies, may only submit one resolution per year according to the Conference rules.
You must submit your resolution as a Microsoft Word Document by May 10, 2023, using the form below. However, in order to best refine your resolution and prepare it for publication, you are encouraged to submit a draft to the Resolutions Committee Chairperson, Benjamin Wolf (email@example.com), as soon as possible.
How should I format a resolution?
Since your resolution will be included in the Conference Workbook, formatting may be lost or degraded as it’s transferred. Please use the “normal” style in your word processor, and don’t change font style, size, or indentation. Acceptable formatting includes bold, italics, superscript, and subscript.
Begin with a bolded title that describes your resolution without using the word “resolution.” Following your title, articulate the factual basis of your resolution. Have one or more paragraphs that begin with (bolded) “Whereas,” Please be sure to cite the factual claims you make. For Scripture references, simply list the reference, followed by the translation, like “John 3:16-17 (NRSV).” Likewise, references from The Book of Discipline and The Book of Resolutions can be cited in-text. Be sure to include the paragraph number and year of publication, like “¶160B in The Book of Discipline (2016) Social Principles states…” For other sources, please cite the item using the Chicago/Turabian style. The process is described here, and you may find success with an automated reference generator like this one. Once you have the citation, reference it by adding a bracketed number after the relevant sentence or paragraph. Then, at the bottom of your resolution, include a list of all your references. Having thorough citations allows the members of the Conference who will be considering your resolution and those who may read the resolution after it passes to do further research. If you are calling for your resolution to be submitted to the General Conference for consideration, please be sure to visit the General Conference’s websites for any particular guidelines they may have.
After establishing the factual basis for your resolution, articulate how you would like the Conference to respond. Begin the first such paragraph with “Now, therefore, be it resolved,” and each subsequent paragraph with “Be it further resolved,” Be sure to be specific. For instance, don’t just say to send the resolution to lawmakers, but instead something like, “all members of the North Carolina General Assembly,” “the North Carolina Speaker of the House and Senate President Pro Tempore,” or “the North Carolina Congressional Delegation.” Consider how you would like members of the Conference to respond; how might you urge churches and members of the Conference to lead by example?
Following these paragraphs, include your list of references in Chicago/Turabian format. If you have directed the resolution to be sent to certain people or bodies, please include their addresses as practical. Including these, all paragraphs to this point should be left-aligned. Please do not center or justify text.
Finally, using right alignment, describe who is submitting the resolution. If you are a layperson, please include where you are a member. If you are a clergy person, please include your ordination status and appointment. If your resolution is submitted by a committee, please include the date it was approved.
Please consider the sample resolution that follows. Resolutions should be no longer than about 2 pages (1,000 words).
What comes next?
Once your resolution is submitted, it will be edited for grammar, formatting, etc. The Resolutions Committee will meet before Annual Conference to consider your resolution and we will decide whether to recommend adoption of your resolution by the Annual Conference or to recommend referral to another board or agency. Whether we decide to recommend adoption or not, your resolution will be printed in the Conference Workbook and presented to the Annual Conference for consideration as determined in the schedule. We recommend you be sure to be present for the presentation so you can speak to your resolution as allowed by the rules of the Conference.
The Chair of the Resolutions Committee is ready to help you prepare your resolution for publication and presentation to the Conference. Please contact Benjamin Wolf with your questions as early as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that the citations are for demonstration only and may not be factually arcuate.
Whereas, the Apostle Paul calls us to “glorify God in your body” because we “were bought with a price” and our bodies are “a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NRSV); and
Whereas, tobacco is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States, killing more people than AIDS, car crashes, illegal drug use, alcohol, and murders combined. Each year 14,200 adults in North Carolina die from their own smoking  and 1,300 Americans lose their life every day to tobacco use ; and
Whereas, smoking causes North Carolina alone more than $5.7 billion annually in health care costs and lost productivity , and cigarette butts, whose filters are made of plastic and not biodegradable, are the number one most littered item, adversely affecting the environment ; and
Whereas, ¶162M in The Book of Discipline (2016) Social Principles acknowledges the “overwhelming evidence” of the hazards of smoking and urges “total abstinence from the use of tobacco;”
Now, therefore be it resolved, the North Carolina Annual Conference commends the North Carolina General Assembly and the Governor for adopting legislation in May making most bars and restaurants tobacco-free environments, building upon previous legislation making most governmental spaces tobacco-free; and
Be it further resolved, the North Carolina Annual Conference encourages all our United Methodist Churches to establish a tobacco-free environment and encourage our members to make their homes and cars smoke-free for the health of themselves and their families; and
Be it further resolved, that copies of this resolution be sent to all members of the General Assembly and to the governor.
1. “The Toll of Tobacco in North Carolina.” Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, last modified March 1, 2017. Accessed June 14, 2017. http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/facts_issues/toll_us/north_carolina.
2. “Tobacco-Related Mortality.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last modified December 01, 2016. Accessed June 14, 2017. http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/tobacco_related_mortality/.
3. Julie Waltz Kembel. No Ifs, Ands, or Butts: A Smoker’s Guide to Kicking the Habit. (Emeryville, CA: Parlay International, 1990), 58-63.
The General Assembly
16 West Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601-1069
The Honorable Governor
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
Approved by the Church Council of Main Street UMC, Sometown, NC July 1, 2017