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General Conference 2019 Special Session – Day 1, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019

Tennessee and Memphis Conference Delegates on Day 1 of the Special Session of 2019 General Conference. Photo by Kylie Marino

The 2019 Special Session of General Conference was a day focused on prayer for both the General Conference and for “increased effectiveness in our mission.”

The day began with a prayer service with the theme: Surrender to God’s Purpose. Then there were several hours with experiential prayer guided by bishops from four different regions of the world: Europe and Eurasia, Africa, USA, and Philippines. Each segment included:

  • preparation for the way God will speak in each segment
  • celebration of the places where the work of God is thriving
  • presentation of the missional challenges in this part of the world
  • prayers in various languages
  • experiential prayer including prayer stations, prayer partners and self-guided prayer.

A closing prayer service had the theme: Seek God’s Will and included communion.

Throughout the day, the Tennessee Conference posted prayers written by our delegation each hour on social media. You are encouraged to continue to use these prayers this week to pray for and with our delegates while they are in St. Louis.

After a brief afternoon break, everyone returned for an orientation that included information on inclusivity and ethical behavior, how new technology will be used for voting, and a presentation by the professional parliamentarian hired to work during this General Conference. The parliamentarian, Leonard Young, had reviewed transcripts from previous General Conference sessions and pointed out several incorrect uses of procedures during those sessions. He provided detailed instruction on how to avoid these types of problems this week.

Tomorrow, officers (chair, vice chair, and secretary) for the Legislative Committee – which includes ALL delegates for this special session – will be elected and legislative work begins. Candidates for the officer positions will be selected from those individuals who served as Legislative Committee officers during the 2016 General Conference.

Candidates for chair include Tennessee Conference delegate, Connie Clark, as well as Bill Allen, Upper New York; Charles S. G. Boayue, Jr., Detroit; Joseph Harris, Oklahoma; and Kimberly Reisman, Indiana.

All received training and experience in 2016, indicated a willingness to serve as an officer during the 2019 Special Session, and attended a mandatory refresher course focused on the parliamentary processes specific to the 2019 Special Session.

There are 78 petitions to be voted on during this special session. They will be prioritized on Sunday for the order in which they will be presented during Monday’s legislative session.

United Methodist News Service photographers captured the images of the day. View photos