What an exciting start to a New Year! As leaders of your Annual Conference Commission on the Status and Role of Women, you know the great opportunity before you to mobilize women. We have been working with the General Board of Church and Society, the General Commission on Religion and Race, and United Methodist Women to encourage church parties where local communities gather in an effort to “Reclaim the Common Good.” During these meetings, church members join with the community to talk about what the common good looks like and ask, who are the people you are most concerned about? This is a strong start to mobilize the church in your town and protect those who are most at risk.
One of the ways you can ensure the rights of United Methodists is by protecting their right to membership. A new amendment to the Constitution of The United Methodist Church, Paragraph 4, Article IV, will be voted at your annual conference this spring or summer. This amendment guarantees the right to membership for people of all genders, marital statuses, ages, and abilities. The amendment is about membership only. For supporting materials about Paragraph 4, and a video explaining the amendment, go to the Paragraph 4, Article IV tab on this website.
We’ve had a lot of questions about the amendment. When you are talking with friends at your annual conference, remind them that this amendment only concerns membership. It has nothing to do with employment or ordained status. It simply protects the rights of people, whether male or female, single or married, young or old, or disabled, to membership in the church. It is just that simple.
Our prayer is that you be blessed during these winter months. Bring people together by organizing a church event to “Reclaim the Common Good.” Provide food and refreshments. Continue to think about your upcoming annual conference and how you can protect the rights of all people to be members of the church by supporting Paragraph 4, Article IV. Our local churches are a great place for the conversations to begin.