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Day Ten: Recap of May 4, 2012

A comprehensive wrap up of General Conference 2012 will be sent next week and posted online.

May 4 Wrap: No Restructure in 2012

TAMPA, Fla. (UMNS) - Thank you, Joey Lopez. After an evening session that sometimes bordered on comical as sleep-deprived delegates attempted to finish with the remaining legislation, the young Western North Carolina delegate made the most popular motion of the night: to adjourn General Conference 2012. Attendees left, perhaps happy to get some sleep and prepare to go home, but likely frustrated that they didn"t come to a resolution on how to restructure The United Methodist Church. Click here for full recap.

Judicial Council Voids Plan UMC

TAMPA, Fla. (UMNS) - A compromise restructure plan for The United Methodist Church, adopted earlier this week by the 2012 General Conference, was declared "unconstitutional" May 4. That unanimous ruling came from the nine-member United Methodist Judicial Council, which had been asked by General Conference to make a declaratory decision on the constitutionality of "Plan UMC." More here.

With No Plan UMC, GC2012 Shrinks Agency Boards

TAMPA, Fla. (UMNS) - The 2012 United Methodist General Conference spent the last hours of its last day May 4 scrambling to downsize agency boards, after the denomination"s top court ruled the "Plan UMC" restructuring legislation unconstitutional. After months of denomination-wide talk about agency reconfiguration, delegates tried to salvage some part of the movement for structural change. They took up petitions that eight of the denomination"s 13 general agencies had submitted to reduce the size of their boards, independent of the Call to Action legislation and other comprehensive restructuring plans. Click here for more.

GC2012: Conference Lowers Apportionments

TAMPA, Fla. (UMNS) - General Conference 2012 approved a budget of $603.1 million for seven general church funds during the 2013-2016 period; that total is 6.03 percent less than the amount apportioned for the 2009-2012 quadrennium "" the first time the assembly has accepted a lower budget than the amount set for the preceding four-year period. That sounds like a whopping amount, but local churches should not count on huge savings since only 2 cents out of every dollar in the collection plates goes to support general church ministries. Full story here.

Constitutional Changes on Funding Fall Short

TAMPA, Fla. (UMNS) - Two amendments to The United Methodist Church"s constitution regarding the redistribution of funds did not garner the necessary two-thirds vote on May 3. The amendments would have allowed General Conference to designate a body to reallocate funds between sessions of the quadrennial gathering. More here.

GC2012 Radio: That's All Folks...

Tampa, FLA. (UMNS) - On our final show, we hear delegates react to this afternoon"s judicial council ruling, which deemed "Plan UMC" unconstitutional. That ruling led to an evening plenary session that continues as I write this. Plus"the Rev. Becca Clark talks with me about Twitter and the guaranteed appointment debate that took place earlier in the week. A few notes on just how much content was accessed during GC2012. More than 500 pieces " audio, video, photos, and blog posts on gc2012conversations.com and umc.org had 1.2 million page views. That"s a lot of hard-working communicators. It has been a blessing to be part of the effort. Click here for broadcast.

Photo of the Day

Fitzgerald Reist (left), secretary of the General Conference, consults privately with Bishop Jeremiah J. Park, the presiding bishop of a May 4 session of the 2012 United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Florida, where Reist announced that the denomination's Judicial Council had ruled a massive church restructure plan unconstitutional. A UMNS photo by Paul Jeffrey.

AWF Photo Gallery

Click here to see photos from throughout the General Conference session.

Words from AWF Delegates

"What a joy to serve, to worship, to celebrate, and to fellowship with members of our connectional church! The work is exhausting and exhilarating, and the members of our delegation have worked long and hard to help move our great church forward. I am honored to be a member of this delegation, the Alabama-West Florida Conference, and the United Methodist Church."

-Dawn Hare, Monroeville, AL

"One cannot begin to understand the dynamics of General Conference without walking around this Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. Twitter, Facebook, emails, and news reports cannot describe the atmosphere of passionate tension, as United Methodists from around the world gathered to shape the ways we seek to live in response to God's call upon our lives. Your delegates have listened with compassion to the voices of all, while leading our church with integrity and bold faithfulness into our future. As you hear about the decisions made on financial, social, structural and theological issues by our General Conference, know that nothing was done without great prayer and consideration of how we can best make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Our hearts were with our brothers and sisters in the Central Conferences, who labor in spreading the Gospel in places foreign to us. Our hearts were with struggling congregations in parts of our own country, as they see the United Methodist movement in great decline. And our hearts rested at home with the people in our own churches and the churches of our beloved Alabama-West Florida Conference, with whom we labor for the cause of Christ every day.

As overwhelming as our work was in attempting to restructure our denominational organization for more faithful and fruitful ministry, the General Conference took the task to heart. The proposed plan was passed, referred, ruled unconstitutional, and altered greatly. Ultimately, God's people agreed that we want change, but that change will happen with thorough review and prayer. Although I share the frustration of many over our seeming lack of progress, I know that God's timing is not always the same as ours. I am reminded that God has worked through councils, synods, protests, and conferences for countless generations. Despite every ebb and flow of the Body of Christ here on earth, God continues to use the church to proclaim the saving grace of Jesus Christ to the world. Our mission has not changed: to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Thank you for allowing each of us on this delegation the honor and privilege of representing you at this table. We were engaged, vocal, and active. Some of us made fiery speeches; at times we were on losing sides of debates. But we return to you with renewed determination to follow John Wesley's admonition, to 'spread scriptural holiness throughout the land.' Thanks be to God!"

-Rev. Robin Wilson, Dauphin Way UMC

Stay Connected During General Conference

General Conference Web site: www.gc2012.umc.org

Twitter: www.twitter.com/gc2012 (join the AWF conversation at #awfgc12)

Facebook: www.facebook.com/gc2012

Photos: Click here for the UMNS galleries

Digital Lounge"casual conversations about what is happening at General Conference: Click here

Video Archives: Click here

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2010 - Conference Generic