General Conference Postponed


On Friday 5. March the Commission on the General Conference announced the further postponement of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (read full  announcement here The next General Conference will be in 2024, dates and place are yet to be announced.

I believe the commission has done a very thorough job investigating and considering ways to have the General Conference while securing the safety of delegates, volunteers and guests, and not least achieving a reasonable threshold of delegate presence and participation. Getting to a decision can by means have been easy, and there has no doubt been significant pressure from different interest groups. I trust the work of the commission, and I am grateful to Audun Westad, who is representing the Nordic and Baltic episcopal area on the commission, for his work.

At this time we are working on getting a full overview of the implications of the decision to postpone general conference for our central conference, episcopal area and annual conferences. This will take some time, and I will continue to update the annual conferences, as we move forward.

The Central Conference Council will meet all day 24th March in Tallinn, Estonia, where we will discuss how to handle the situation and plan for central conference. Information will be sent out following the meeting. In addition annual conferences will need to discuss the situation and its implications, when they meet later in the year.

As this is another postponement, the delegates elected for the General Conference 2020 and for the Central Conference 2021 remain our elected delegates, however, this needs to be officially affirmed.

There is much church politics going on right now in the general church, which we should be careful not to be caught up in. I am confident that we will find ways to handle our diverse theological positions in the Nordic and Baltic countries, and many good people are doing their utmost to work for a church, where we can all engage in God's mission with integrity.

While this is going on within the United Methodist Church, Europe and in particular Ukraine is going through war, and millions are fleeing into the bordering countries and beyond. We will be challenged in ways exceeding what we have experienced during the pandemic - this I believe will demand our best as churches as we engage in hospitality, support, prayer and ministry.

Christian Alsted