Petition 60815

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General Church Council (60815-GA-NonDis-G)

The General Conference shall maintain the basic structure and functions of the Connectional Table in the next quadrennium (2017-2020) so that the attention, energy, and resources focus on developing a General Church Council structure that will model our worldwide connection more faithfully.

The Connectional Table in partnership with the Council of Bishops will create a Missional Collaboration Group made up of CT and COB Members from our worldwide church. This group will be tasked with establishing and recommending a model for a General Church Council to align with the work of the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters (StC-CCM) and the Committee on Faith and Order (CFO) for a General Book of Discipline.

The Missional Collaboration Group will be tasked to: 1) provide a forum for conversations with key constituents within our primary partnerships to foster wide investment in a “General Church Council” concept; 2) develop legislation to create a General Church Council replacing the Connectional Table in 2020 to accompany the General Book of Discipline legislation. The General Church Council legislation will address the membership of the General Church Council, name the essential functions, and set a timeline for implementation.

The Missional Collaboration Group work will be guided by the following vision and principles for a General Church Council:

Vision: A General Church Council would be a geographically representative, intergenerational body exemplifying the diversity of our worldwide connection.

Principles: A General Church Council shall seek to live out the focus and spirit of the following principles: 1) Build trust in three primary relationships: i) the General Conference through a partnership with the Commission on General Conference; ii) annual conferences through collaboration with active bishops and directors of connectional ministries; iii) program-related general agencies through World Service stewardship, and administrative general agencies through stewardship of mission and vision alignment; 2) Guide a uniquely Wesleyan/spiritual Connection; and 3) Create an open-handed/permission-giving culture that enables innovation by fostering creativity and enhancing ministry at all levels of the church.

Rationale

This proposal offers a process that helps our denomination achieve its mission in our interconnected, diverse, worldwide context. It is in line with work related to General Book of Discipline process. Allowing the Connectional Table to continue to build trust among key partners strengthens the outcome for the worldwide mission.

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