The June 16 evening session, was, like the opening of the 2016 Annual Conference that morning, far from typical.
A single resolution titled “Action of Non-Conformity with the General Conference of The United Methodist Church
” came before the body.
It was presented by Pastor Will Green, who serves Ballardvale United Federated in Andover, MA, and Jonathan Rodríguez-Cintrón, equalization member from East Saugus UMC.
It stated, in part, “The NEAC will not conform or comply with provisions of the Discipline
which discriminate against LGBTQIA persons” and “The NEAC and its members will not participate in or conduct judicial procedures related to the Discipline’s
prohibitions against LGBTQIA persons.” (Read the full text here
After much impassioned discussion, it was recommended to be acted on by the Annual Conference.
In order to consider the resolution, Rev. Mark Monson Alley, chair of the Sessions Committee, made a motion that the Annual Conference session be adjourned and instead members consider the resolution as a “Committee of the Whole” as outlined in Robert’s Rules of Order.
According to Robert’s Rules, “When an assembly has to consider a subject which it does not wish to refer to a committee, and yet where the subject matter is not well digested and put into proper form for its definite action, or when, for any other reason, it is desirable for the assembly to consider a subject with all the freedom of an ordinary committee, it is the practice to refer the matter to the ‘Committee of the Whole.’”
The body supported the motion. Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar stepped down as presider, as the Annual Conference was adjourned. The body chose Interim Conference Secretary John Blackadar to serve as presider for the Committee of the Whole.
Bishop Devadhar was not required by the rule or asked by the makers of the resolution to leave, but opted to remove himself from the session; and though members encouraged him to stay, he remained outside the Expo Center.
Rev. Alley had also moved that the Annual Conference session operate under the 2014 rules – since changes proposed to the rules this year had not yet been considered. The body supported that motion.
Acting as a Committee of the Whole, members could vote to make a recommendation or recommendations to the Annual Conference for consideration, but the actions of the committee are not binding to the Annual Conference.
In order for the resolution to be binding, it must be supported by the Annual Conference.
The Clergy and Laity sessions will be held simultaneously on Friday, June 17, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The rest of the day’s agenda will be announced Friday.