Monday, April 30, 2012

Legislation

Anyone who is a member of a United Methodist Church can write a petition to go before the General Conference of the United Methodist Church.  As you can imagine, this draws a lot of petitions to us!  To the right is a picture of the petitions we received in preparation for General Conference - that's 1850 pages of petitions! They are compiled in books called the Advanced Daily Christian Advocate. Because of the sheer mass of petitions, we have to have a system to go through them.  The petitions are filtered to the  legislative committee to which they best fit, and we act on them in our committees (sometimes starting in sub-committees).  Committees then make a recommendation (often with amendments) to the floor of General Conference and that is what we act on.  The first week of GC is spent in legislative committees, the second in main plenary. Here's an idea of the space in a legislative committee:

 There were about seven-five seated delegates in the room, with a chair, vice-chair, and secretary.  This is the view from my table.
This is the view behind me.  If you see the black line, that separates the delegates from the visitors who can watch us throughout our sessions, but cannot speak.


When we are done with our legislative work, it still needs to be voted on by the entire body.  Any petition that was approved with less than ten dissenting votes is put on a consent calendar - allowing us to approve a number of petitions at once.  There are lots of ways that a petition can be pulled off the calendar to be considered separately, and that often takes up the bulk of our work during week 2.  Each day, we receive a list of all the petitions that are going to be considered, along with our schedule, and the consent calendars we will approve (this is called the Daily Christian Advocate).  Here is an example of a printed consent calendar:


Pray for us in week two as we wade through petitions and hear debate on the floor.  If you're curious to see how the process looks in real life, check out the live stream on our church's website at anytime throughout the week.


Psst.  As a side note, Emmalyn loved playing with my Advanced Daily Christian Advocates (the petitions we received before hand), and still does.  Look at her considering these petitions:

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