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General Conference to consider Revised Social Principles

By: Heather Hahn, UM News, United Methodist Board of Church and Society, Doreen Gosmire, director of communications, Dakotas UMC


Photo courtesy of United Methodist Board of Church and Society.

The Dakotas Conference delegation will join 862 other delegates elected from around the world to consider the Revised Social Prniciples of The United Methodist Church. Delegates will gather for General Conference (officially still titled "General Conference 2020") April 23 – May 3, 2024, at Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

The Social Principles serve as the United Methodist Church’s official summary of stated convictions on social issues of the day. Going back to John Wesley’s public support for laborers and opposition to slavery, the people called Methodist have drawn on their faith to take stands on the issues of their day.

That tradition has continued through Methodism’s first Social Creed in 1908 to today’s Social Principles. First adopted by the 1972 General Conference, the Social Principles document stands in the Wesleyan tradition of forthright moral witness and ethical action.

General Conference is the only body that can amend this part of the Discipline. Delegates this year will have the chance to vote on a whole slate of Revised Social Principles submitted by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society.

The revision process began when the 2012 General Conference approved a petition from the three central conferences in Europe to make the Social Principles “more globally relevant, theologically founded and succinct.”

The multiyear revision process involved thousands of United Methodists around the world. Church and Society began the work with listening sessions in Africa, Europe, the Philippines and the United States. The agency then turned to a writing team of 52 United Methodists from the same four continents to draft the revisions.

More than 4,000 United Methodists read, reviewed and commented on the first Social Principles draft. Their feedback contributed to the resulting petitions, which share church teachings on matters as diverse as poverty, climate change, immigration, substance abuse and colonialism.

“This has been just an amazing journey involving so many voices in a way that we believe really reflects who we are as United Methodists today,” said John Hill, Church and Society’s interim top executive.

He added that the revision “gives us a strong social statement for who we are to be as we move forward out of General Conference.”

As proposed, the revision would no longer make reference to homosexuality at all. Since 1972, the Social Principles have stated that “the practice of homosexuality… is incompatible with Christian teaching.” 

Gc Webinars Updated2

Read the Revised Social Principles Summaries—click on the title to access the document.
Talking Points
Value Statement

In preparation for General Conference 2024, the Dakotas Conference delegation encourages individuals and local church groups to participate in a webinar. 

Join your Dakotas Conference General Conference delegation—Beata Ferris, Kara Heagel, Rev. Sara Nelson, and Rev. Rebecca Trefz, on April 4, 2024 at 7 p.m., central time, 6 p.m., mountain time, or April 7 at 2 p.m., central time, 1 p.m., mountain time, to learn more about General Conference and ask questions about the upcoming 2024 General Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 23-May 4, 2024. 

Register by 5 p.m., April 3, 2024


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