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Dear Hyde Park Family,

Thank you for the prayers and encouragement over these last two weeks as the General Conference of the United Methodist Church gathered in Charlotte, North Carolina. I felt honored to serve as one of the clergy delegates, along with Clarke Campbell-Evans (clergy), Justin LaRosa (reserve clergy), and Steve Gardner (reserve laity).

The General Conference made some significant decisions for our denomination, and the following is a brief list of its highlights. I encourage you to watch this recording from a webinar last Tuesday in which I interviewed Bishop Tom Berlin, Molly McEntire, and Rev. Alex Shanks. In addition, you can view my announcement last Sunday in our in-person worship services.

Here are the highlights:


Delegates approved legislation that would restructure the denomination to be more

contextual in different global regions served by the church. This plan accounts for the evolving nature of worldwide United Methodism, which began as a U.S.-centric denomination in 1968, but has since become a growing presence in Africa and the Philippines, which have their own unique cultural contexts and missional needs. Regionalization emphasizes unity in our core beliefs, along with liberty to adapt ministry and parts of The Book of Discipline to different settings.

It received 78% approval, exceeding the requisite 2/3 threshold. Because it requires changes to the UMC constitution, it now moves through a ratification process, in which 2/3rds of the total delegates of all Annual (U.S.) and Central (International) Conferences will vote. It is anticipated that most Annual Conferences will vote on it in June 2025.



The General Conference voted by overwhelming majorities to remove from The Book of Discipline discriminatory language and practices against LGBTQIA+ persons. Actions included:

  • Removal of the language that the “practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.
  • Removal of the ban on the licensing, commissioning, ordination, and appointment of queer clergy.
  • Removal from the list of chargeable offenses against clergy the act of presiding over a same-sex wedding.
  • Removal of the ban of United Methodist funds to support ministries that promote LGBTQIA+ inclusion.



The General Conference budget, which funds domestic and international agencies and supports our bishops, was reduced and streamlined, so as not to incur a heavier apportionment burden on local churches in the wake of disaffiliations.

Wespath, the denomination’s pension and benefits agency, received approval for a new clergy retirement plan, which is a defined contribution, rather than a defined benefits plan.



Delegates approved the first overhaul of the denomination’s Social Principles

in nearly 50 years. These are not considered church law, but reflect official

United Methodist teachings on a wide range of topics. They inform our witness on major issues of the day through a biblical foundation that is shaped by tradition, reason, and experience.



The clergy order of deacons (which includes Rev. Justin LaRosa) received the ability to perform the sacraments of baptism and communion without the need to seek prior permission from the bishop, as long as they are done in that clergy’s ministry setting.



After a 22-year study, the General Conference adopted a plan to enter into a “full communion agreement” with The Episcopal Church. This is not a merger of the two denominations, but a recognition that both traditions are part of the same holy, catholic, apostolic church. It also affirms that we have much in common theologically and organizationally, and it allows for clergy to serve churches in the other denomination when 1) it is missionally necessary, and 2) it is approved by the bishops. This plan requires the agreement of The Episcopal Church when it convenes in 2026.



  • Approved a constitutional amendment addressing the denomination’s commitment to eradicating racism.
  • Approved an apology to victims and survivors of sexual misconduct by clergy and lay leaders in the church. The resolution also encourages the reporting of sexual abuse and states that the abuse of power will not be tolerated in the church.
  • Celebrated the impact of Africa University and milestone anniversaries – the 200th anniversary of Methodist mission, the 100th anniversary of the United Methodist Building in Washington, D.C., and the 80th anniversary of the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

After 1,100 petitions, the work of 14 Legislative Committees, nearly 800 delegates, and 12 straight 16-hour days, this General Conference has drawn to a close. I would say that even beyond these major legislative accomplishments, the most important highlight for me was the genuinely civil, hope-filled, and thoughtful interactions that I observed and engaged in with people across our differences.

This truly felt like the start of a new day in the United Methodist Church, and I am grateful to have been elected to be a part of it. And thank you for being such an amazing congregation to return to, as we continue the work of making disciples for the transformation of the world.

Grace and Peace,

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