The Council of Bishops made plans to call a special General Conference in February or March of 2019, as described in this UMNS article released yesterday. The actual call will not be issued until a location, dates, and exact wording of the call have been determined.
While the specifics of the special General Conference have not yet been developed, it will take up matters related to the Commission on a Way Forward. This blog has covered the development of that commission in previous posts. The timing of the General Conference would allow the Commission, whose membership was recently announced, until approximately June 2018 to complete their work.
It is also worth noting that delegates to the called General Conference will be either the same delegates as GC2016, their regularly appointed alternates, or, if an annual conference so chooses, a newly elected slate of delegates. One development to watch is whether annual conferences do choose to elect new delegates.
Along with the announcement came a video inviting United Methodists to pray and fast for their church. A corresponding website (umcprays.org) is designed to assist church members in that process. The bishops emphasized the importance of prayer in moving forward as a denomination.