We, the Reconciling United Methodist of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference, in order to embody "open hearts, open minds, open doors" will: (1) help Oregon-Idaho United Methodist Churches and ministries be places of welcome and safety for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) persons and become more inclusive in their day-to-day life, language, witness, and teaching; (2) provide resources and support to local churches and ministries to help them discuss, develop, and publish statements that proclaim their welcome to all persons, specifically every race, nationality, age, gender, social condition, ability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, previous faith experience, and questioners; and (3) state clearly that we are not leaving the UMC and that we will find ways to promote unity. (adopted 2004; revised 2016)
from UMC Communications March 3, 2022
NASHVILLE: As the pandemic continues and the wait time for visas stretches to over two years in some countries, the Commission on the General Conference announced today that the 2020 General Conference cannot be held in 2022 due to COVID-related and governmental policies/constraints.
Commission members received a report based on conversations with multiple officials of the U. S. Department of State outlining the massive backlog of visa applications in some areas. This backlog has led to wait times up to 800+ days for scheduling an initial interview. In addition, commission members described an increasingly complex interview process in some areas requiring two or three interviews, which also creates a roadblock that would preclude participation by many delegates outside the United States of America.
Commission chairperson Kim Simpson said the decision to postpone once again was an exceedingly difficult one, with many factors to consider -- including visas and passports, the health and safety of delegates, volunteers and other attendees, vaccination rates, and the need for provisions for quarantine or medical care should any delegates contract COVID-19.
"We engaged in a fair, thorough, integrity-filled discussion of the alternatives," said Simpson. "The visa issue is a reality that is simply outside our control as we seek to achieve a reasonable threshold of delegate presence and participation. Ultimately our decision reflects the hope that 2024 will afford greater opportunity for global travel and a higher degree of protection for the health and safety of delegates and attendees."
The Book of Discipline 2016 requires the Commission to take necessary measures to assure full participation of all General Conference delegates. Consistent with that guidance, the Commission determined that the physical attendance of as many delegates as possible at the General Conference is critically necessary.
A significant advantage of further postponing the 2020 General Conference to 2024 is that the Commission has already secured a venue for what would have been the regularly scheduled quadrennial event. An announcement about the location will be forthcoming as soon as the required logistical planning is complete.
On June 12, 2015, the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference approved our Action Request "Single-user, gender-neutral, accessible, lockable rest rooms" with one amendment (from "require" to "recommend"). Providing information about this need will allow caring congregations to implement the action as soon as they are able.