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Dear Hyde Park Family,

Less than three weeks from now, 862 United Methodist delegates from around the world will gather in Charlotte, North Carolina for the General Conference of the United Methodist Church. It will be the fourteenth time that our denomination has gathered for this quadrennial meeting since the United Methodist Church was officially formed in 1968, and 232 years after the first conference of the Methodist Church met in Baltimore, Maryland.

I am honored to have been elected by our Annual Conference to serve as one of the sixteen delegates from Florida, comprised of 8 clergy and 8 laity. In addition, Rev. Clarke Campbell-Evans is a fellow clergy delegate, along with Rev. Justin LaRosa as a reserve clergy delegate, and Steve Gardner as a reserve lay delegate.

From April 23 to May 3, we will engage in worship and holy conferencing, for the purpose of interpreting the work of the United Methodist Church for the present age. Delegates will consider hundreds of petitions and make a wide array of decisions, guiding the denomination in its allocation of resources, its position on major issues, and its priorities for ministry.

Last Tuesday, Hyde Park hosted a livestreamed, informational webinar, in which I interviewed Bishop Tom Berlin, Molly McEntire (the head of our laity delegation) and Rev. Alex Shanks (the head of our clergy delegation.) I would encourage you to watch the hour-long webinar here. 

Among the many matters of discernment and consideration will be these four major issues:

  • Revision of our Social Principles: to speak into contemporary issues in ways that are globally relevant and biblically based.
  • Reduction of the Denomination’s Overall Budget: to maximize resources for local churches to do the work of making disciples.
  • Regionalization of the Denomination’s Global Structure: to allow the United Methodist Church to minister in the most effective ways in different global contexts.
  • Removal of Discriminatory Language and Policies: to reduce the harm done to LGBTQIA+ persons.

If you have any questions or comments about any of these items, please feel free to reach out to me, Justin, Clarke, or Steve.


I invite you to be in prayer for this important work, both as we prepare over the coming weeks, and as we gather in Charlotte. I wrote the following as a way to prompt and guide your own prayers:

Almighty and Everlasting God,

We give you thanks for the unique expression of your Church through the people called United Methodist. You have granted us spiritual ancestors whose words and witness have shaped our practice, our polity, and our doctrine. We thank you for John, Charles, and Susannah Wesley. For Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury. For Jacob Albright and Philip Otterbein. For Sarah Mallet and Phoebe Palmer. And for all those who have gone before us, upon whose shoulders we stand in awe and gratitude.

We pray for the work of the General Conference. We entrust to your care those who are serving as delegates, that you might strengthen them with physical and mental stamina to conduct their business with courage, mutual love, and spiritual centeredness. We pray for their long hours of work and their short nights of rest.

We pray for a renewed commitment to the central command of Jesus, which is to make disciples of all nations. Guide the delegates toward an unrelenting focus on that ideal, that it may guide every decision. Remind us that true transformation begins in the mind and the heart.

We pray for the way General Conference will interpret the church’s witness to the controversial topics of our day. We are aware of the polarizing potential of such issues, so may there be a revitalized and shared commitment to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with you.

We pray for clarity in the way the agencies, programs, and fiscal activities of the church will be evaluated for their effectiveness. Empower the General Conference to negotiate the hard decisions wisely, and to refrain from making some decisions harder than they need to be. We pray for reform, for the right reasons, in the right areas, in the right ways.

God of us all, renew our vision of dry bones enfleshed with new life. Fill us with the promise of resurrection, and a sense of hope for the future. Grant to your church an optimism balanced with realism, strengthened by our mutual efforts to do your holy work, and sustained by the power of your Spirit. May the work of this General Conference impact the United Methodist Church on all levels, from the General Boards to the grassroots, from the ordained to the laity, from local communities to contexts all around the world.

In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Grace and Peace,

The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist