Chicago, Illinois: In a virtual board meeting on October 29, 2020, the Connectional Table (CT) voted to affirm the Christmas Covenant legislation as a vehicle for providing global regionalism in The United Methodist Church, including the creation of the U.S. as a regional conference.
This decision affirms the CT’s continuing support of its own U.S. Regional Conference legislation as a contextual U.S. expression of the need for regionalism. The decision brings institutional partnership to the efforts of the Christmas Covenant Central Conference Outreach Team to create a U.S. regional conference with equal legislative authority and adaptability that the Christmas Covenant seeks to give central conferences.
“There is an obvious need for more equity and ability to adapt governance and polity in a global church present in the highly diverse contexts of the US, Africa, Asia and Europe – I believe the CT’s US Regional Conference legislation and the Christmas Covenant legislation can help the denomination to move in that direction.” said Bishop Christian Alsted, Chair of the Connectional Table and bishop of the Nordic and Baltic Episcopal area.
In taking this action, the CT recognizes that the Christmas Covenant Central Conference Outreach Team will take the lead on the Christmas Covenant legislation and supports this as an expression of the CT’s commitment to institutional equity and to dismantling historic, systemic colonialism. This vote is a reminder that the U.S. Regional Conference legislation and the Christmas Covenant legislation are not in competition with one another. Rather, they complement each other in the pursuit of a more fully global and contextual UMC.
The board’s decision follows a previous statement approved by the CT at their April 2020 meeting. That statement affirmed that, “the Christmas Covenant legislation accurately reflects the CT legislation which proposes creating a U.S. Regional Conference…(and) also makes the regional conference structure consistent worldwide.”
“In line with our Worldwide Covenant (¶125, Book of Discipline), a primary focus of the CT has long been helping the UMC more fully live into its worldwide connectional nature,” said Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai, Chief Connectional Ministries Office of the CT. “This partnership nurtures our collaboration with our central conference partners to bring greater worldwide equity to our church.”
About the Connectional Table: The Connectional Table works to steward the mission, vision and ministries of The United Methodist Church. For more information, please visit umcct.org.
Related Links: umcct.org/legislation
Assistant Connectional Ministries Officer