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As the Special Session draws nearer (Feb. 23 - 26), you may have questions about what it all means. Understanding what's happening just became easier.

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The Way Forward Report Summary

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What is a special session of General Conference?

The Council of Bishops (all active and retired United Methodist bishops) or General Conference itself may call a special session of the assembly to deal with a specific issue facing the church, be that missional, bureaucratic, theological or cultural (BOD ¶14). The special session may only deal with the business defined in the call unless two-thirds or more of the delegates vote to consider other matters. Most of the delegates to a special session will have served in the previous General Conference.

This particular special session will address the unity of the church and the theological impasse related to human sexuality specifically the church’s ministry with, by and for LGBTQ individuals. Delegates will receive the report of the Commission on the Way Forward, which the 2016 General Conference authorized. Pending a review by the Judicial Council — the denomination’s highest court – for constitutionality, three plans (submitted as petitions to change the Discipline) will presented in the report. The delegates, acting as a single legislative committee, will then discuss and discern which proposal they want to refine. The Judicial Council’s rulings are expected in late October.