The 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church takes place May 10-20, 2016 in Portland, Oregon. General Conference, which takes place every four years, is the top policy-making body in the UMC and is the only church entity that has authority to speak for the entire denomination. General Conference meets every four years to revise the Book of Discipline.
The 2016 General Conference consists of 864 delegates from around the world. Approximately 42% of the delegates are from outside the US, due to tremendous growth in other countries, particularly from Africa.
This is my prayer as General Conference gets underway …
O God, thank you for calling us to be part of this movement for such a time as this! Thank you for all who have gone before us and have spread scriptural holiness across many lands! Without them, we would not be here. Thank you for inviting us to participate in what you are doing in the world, and for loving the world through us!
Thank you for your Word and your Spirit, which have guided and shaped us. Please forgive us for the ways we have missed the mark, and have failed to be an obedient Church. Forgive us for losing sight of your mission and call upon our lives. And, forgive us for the deep divisions that exist in this body!
Please pour out your Spirit upon your Church, and particularly upon General Conference! Your Church needs your wisdom, guidance, and intervention. Please protect all who gather in Portland. Speak to them and speak through them in the decisions they make!
Give the delegates of General Conference hearts for you, for one another, for your Church, and for the world you love. Help the delegates to be faithful to your Word and to the leading of your Spirit. May they honor you through their actions and attitudes, as well as their decisions!
Please squash all personal agendas and plans that hinder the mission of your Church. Please help the delegates to hear your voice and sense your leading at this critical time in the life of the UMC!
I pray not so much that you will preserve this Church, but that you will empower and equip us to fulfill your mission. I pray that we will, as Wesley pleaded, “hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out.” As Jesus prayed, “May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6.10, NLT).
“Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us” (Ephesians 3.20, CEB). Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer! Amen.