Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Recommend readings on African and Filipino issues at General Conference

The UMC General Conference, which begins today, will consider 1043 petitions. Religion News Service posted this list of the top six issues to be discussed at General Conference.
While the list includes international issues like religious freedom and the church's response to refugees, most of the issues are ones that have originated in the US.
What, then, are the top issues for Central Conference delegates to General Conference? African delegates have indicated an interest in the sexuality debates that are #1 on the RNS list, and German and other European delegates care greatly about immigration.
But there are other issues not on the RNS list, and as this UMNS story indicates, African delegates in particular are coming with an intention to advance their own agendas and not just respond to American agendas. As this article notes, an important item on those agendas is the timing of additional bishops for Africa.
For Filipino delegates, an important point of the conference will be a presentation by Lumads, a persecuted indigenous group in the Philippines that the church has supported even at its own risk.
Certainly, this is not a comprehensive list of the many topics for which the large and diverse group of Central Conference delegates will be advocating, but it's a good place to start watching.

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