Petition 60274

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Comprehensive Plan for Africa (60274-CC-NonDis-!-G)

Comprehensive Plan for central conferences and episcopal areas in Africa

The 2012 General Conference established a set of criteria for episcopal areas in central conferences related to the workload of a bishop, and asked that assessments into the mission potential be made (BOD 2012, ¶ 404.1). After visitations in three different episcopal areas, the assessment teams were convinced that solutions to the immense needs and challenges related to the workload of bishops and to the vastness and dysfunctionalities of central conferences need to be sought in a concerted effort with the leadership in Africa and that such collaboration needs to take place early in the next quadrennium.

Therefore, the 2016 General Conference approves that the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters shall plan, organize and implement a collaborative comprehensive plan on numbers and boundaries of central conferences and episcopal areas in Africa. As an integral part of this plan, the number of episcopal areas in Africa shall increase from 13 to 18 after the 2020 General Conference. Such increase shall be included in the budget of the Episcopal Fund for the quadrennium 2021-2024. The comprehensive plan includes:

A focus on Africa and the number and boundaries of its central conferences and episcopal areas;

Two meetings of representatives from Africa, composed of one delegate from each annual and provisional annual conference in Africa, elected by their central conference, and of all active African bishops;

A participation of the Standing Committee, which will be limited to ten of its members, not from Africa.

The Standing Committee will plan and organize the consultations and recommend to the 2020 General Conference the implementing steps for a revision of the number and boundaries of the central conferences and the episcopal areas in each central conference, including enabling actions to organize the “constituting sessions” of the central conferences.

The financial implications for the 2017-2020 quadrennium are linked to the two meetings planned. The total costs of USD 320,000 are being requested from the General Administration Fund Contingency.

Rationale

Even if the pressing needs in Africa may claim for immediate action, only a spirit and practice of conferencing and collaboration among all United Methodist leaders in Africa may bring future-oriented and promising solutions to the multiple and complex challenges. Only together will it be possible to build connectional structures...

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