Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, released this statement regarding the possible postponement of the 2020 General Conference due to the coronavirus pandemic:
The Executive Committee of the UMC Council of Bishops has asked the Commission on the General Conference to postpone the 2020 General Conference, which is scheduled for May 5-15 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
According to The UMC Book of Discipline, the Commission on the General Conference has the authority to determine when the General Conference convenes.
As a member of the Executive Committee, I support this recommendation for many reasons – the most critical of which is the health and safety of all General Conference delegates. While the business of our quadrennial General Conference is important, no matter is so pressing that it is worth risking the health – and potentially the life – of even one delegate.
In addition – given the global nature of the United Methodist Connection and the fact that the pandemic already is wreaking havoc with international travel – convening the General Conference amid the possibility that some conferences might not be represented would violate the covenant nature of our United Methodist polity.
Please read the request from the Executive Committee for more details and be in active prayer throughout the coming days for the members of the Commission on the General Conference and all leaders who are making critical decisions as we continue through this difficult time.
For more resources on how to prepare, prevent and respond to the potential for coronavirus in your church and community, review the resources linked from this page. And remember the importance of basing our actions and behaviors on what health experts are saying and to make sure any information we share comes from credible sources.
Please continue to pray for those affected by illness, the medical professionals treating and caring for them, and those working diligently to ensure a healthier future for all of us.
Grace and peace,
L. Jonathan Holston
- Coronavirus: What to know, how to help (The United Methodist Church)
- About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (State Department of Health and Environmental Control)
- The Flu (State Department of Health and Environmental Control)
- Coronavirus and Stock Market Volatility (Wespath Investments)