Skip to Main Content

General Conference 2019

The Council of Bishops has called a Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church that's taking place Feb. 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. The purpose is to receive and act on a report from the Commission on a Way Forward and to discern a way forward related to the issue of homosexuality. 

Dakotas Conference delegation at the special session of General Conference in St. Louis. From left to right: Rev. Rebecca Trefz, clergy delegate, Beata Ferris, lay delegate, Rev. Roger Spahr, alternate clergy delegate, and Matt Bader, alternate lay delegate. Photo by Dave Stucke, Dakotas Conference.

The  Dakotas delegates to the 2019 General Conference Special Session: Rev. Rebecca Trefz, clergy delegate, Beata Ferris, lay delegate, Rev. Roger Spahr, alternate clergy delegate, and Matthew Bader, alternate lay delegate.  You can contact the delegation at this e-mail

The Dakotas communications team was on the ground in St. Louis to provide timely coverage. This page contains links to all of that coverage.


Day 4: Feb. 26

Traditional Plan passes 
The decision of the General Conference was to offer a majority support for the Traditional Plan. The vote was 438 to 384. The delegates then voted to ask the Judicial Council, the highest court in the denomination, to review the constitutionality of the approved legislation.

Let's make disciples: Rev. Randy Cross
Rev. Randy Cross explains what constitutionality is all about and what principles guide Judicial Council's decisions. He encourages all of us to not get caught up in the details but to stay true to the mission.  

Hope and understanding: Seminary students seek a way forward
Natalie Buck and Kara Togel share their why they attended General Conference 2019 in St. Louis and hopes for the future. 

Dakotas youth speak out
Members of the Dakotas Conference Council on Youth (CCYM) share insights and reactions to the decision of the General Conference body support for the Traditional plan. 

Dakotas-Minnesota team prepares to host GC in 2020
Members of the Dakotas-Minnesota Area Host Team came to St. Louis to prepare to welcome United Methodists coming to Minneapolis for General Conference 2020.

Day 3: Feb. 25

One Church Plan fails, Traditional Plan advances
Dakotas delegates, share insights to the legislative process. “We have spent a lot of time refining and tweaking to move things along to tomorrow at the plenary, where we will continue to be seeking God’s will,” said Beatta Ferris, Dakotas Conference lay delegate. “That’s what we’re all about…we pray that the Holy Spirit will help guide us to that end.”

Let it begin in me: Rev. Rebecca Trefz
Dakotas Conference lead delegate, Rev. Rebecca Trefz, takes a moment to share her thoughts. " I want to come away from this week with a deeper love for Jesus because he doesn’t give up on loving us and working in and through us—in the hopes that we won’t give up on loving our neighbors."

Bishop Deborah Kiesey: We are better together
Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey, who served the Dakotas area from 2008-2012, reflects on General Confernce 2019. “I have always believed we are stronger together, even if we are together and very different.” She said she has always learned and grown from being with persons with whom she disagrees, and she believes it is true for the church at large—that we learn from the struggle, we learn from each other in our differences, we are better when we are together.

Day 2: Feb. 24

Delegates vote to address pensions, Traditional Plan first
Delegates ranked petitions by priority for refining in legislative committee. The One Church Plan, backed by a majority of bishops, was fifth. 

Continue being faithful: Kermit Culver shares thoughts about GC 2019
Rev. Kermit Culver, district superintendent for the Northwest District of the Dakotas Conference, shares some thoughts at the end of day two of General Conference 2019. "Don’t be in a hurry to decide anything except to continue being faithful. No matter what the future Church looks like, we will never go wrong just being faithful. I pray for you - and for God’s will to be done! "

‘God is not done with us’: Young adult delegates reflect
Walker Brault and Matt Bader share their hopes for GC2019, what they value about The United Methodist Church, and their thoughts on reaching young people.

Dakotas alternate delegates praying with you
Dakotas alternates Matthew Bader and Reverend Roger Spahr attended the Special Session of the General Conference in Saint Louis, Missouri. As they witnessed the first day of committee reports and prioritizing of petitions, they share  prayers. 

Day 1: Feb. 23

Sweet hours of prayer begin GC2019
United Methodists from all points of the globe spent six hours in prayer for the church before beginning the 2019 General Conference’s hard work of reviewing church policy regarding homosexuality. Dakotas Conference delegates share their insights.

Millard urges United Methodists to surrender trust in the Lord
“Place your trust in God,” says Rev. Kent Millard, president of United Theological Seminary. “I encourage, everyone at General Conference (in St. Louis) and back in your church to place our trust in God. Let go to God.” He hared thoughts about how The United Methodist Church can seek a way forward in St. Louis. 

Dakotas delegates share prayers
The first day of the 2019 Special Called General Conference and it was spent in prayer by attendees from around the world to center focus towards God. The Dakotas Conference delegates Beata Ferris and Reverend Rebecca Trefz share a prayer. 


GC2019 Wrap-up: Dakotas delegation
The Dakotas sent a delegation of clergy and laity to St. Louis, MO on February 23-26, 2019 for a special called session of General Conference 2019. This video captures some of the important moments, reactions, and reflections of that conference and our delegation.

GC2019 UMC Wrap-up video
During General Conference 2019, United Methodist delegates from around the world worshiped together, discussed complex issues and passed legislation regarding same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBTQ clergy. The Special Session of General Conference was held February 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri. Video by United Methodist Communications. 

Bishop Ough: My heart is heavy
“I encourage all who may be disheartened, harmed, or ready to throw in the towel to remember this truth: The actions of the General Conference do not change who you are, or who we are, in Christ," Bishop Bruce R. Ough told Minnesota and Dakotas United Methodists following the Feb. 23-26 Special Session of General Conference in St. Louis.

Update from GC 2019 Feb. 26
Rev. Rebecca Trefz, clergy delegate, Beata Ferris, Lay delegate, and Matt Bader, lay reserve delegate, delivered this update live via facebook on February 26, 2019, the final day of the special session of General Conference 2019.

Bishop Ough: We are all beloved children of God
At the close of the Special Session of General Conference, Bishop Bruce R. Ough gives a summary of the decisions made. He reminds us, "No matter what actions were taken here, it doesn't change the fundamental things. It doesn't change the fact that every one of us is a beloved child of God."

Update from GC 2019 Feb. 25
The Dakotas Conference delegation, Rev. Rebecca Trefz, clergy delegate, and Beata Ferris, lay delegate, talk about day three of the special session of General Conference 2019—Traditional Plan moves on, dissolution and pension petitions, One Church Plan fails.

Day 3 greetings from Bishop Ough
Bishop Bruce R. Ough shares a greeting with Minnesota and  Dakotas United Methodists, gives an update about where things stand, and talks about his hope and his prayer for the work ahead.

Seminary students reflect during General Conference 2019
Seminary students in attendance at General Conference 2019 share thoughts about the General Conference atmosphere, the legislative process, and the future of their place in The United Methodist Church.

Update from GC 2019 Feb. 24
Rev. Roger Spahr, alternate clergy delegate, and Matt Bader, alternate lay delegate talk about day two of the special session of General Conference 2019—powerful worship, prioritizing petitions, and hope. General Conference was held Feb. 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Update from GC 2019 Feb. 23
Rev. Rebecca Trefz, clergy delegate, Beatta Ferris, lay delegate, Rev. Roger Spahr, alternate clergy delegate, and Matt Bader, alternate lay delegate talk about day one of the special session of General Conference 2019—day of prayer, the atmosphere, and the diversity.

Dakotas Conference photos—view on Flickr here

General church coverage

View news stories from the United Methodist News Service related to General Conference 2019.

Get frequently asked questions about General Conference 2019 answered with this handy guide from United Methodist Communications.

United Methodists News Service photographers captured the scenes at the special General Conference, which included passionate debate, prayer and protests.