Kentucky delegation responds to GC 2020 delay

March 30, 2020
General Conference organizers announced March 18 that the 2020 meeting would not take place this May, as scheduled, because of the COVID-19 crisis. It now will take place sometime in 2021. That means, the human sexuality debate – and possible church split – is on hold for now.
In light of the unexpected delay, we reached out to members of the Kentucky Annual Conference delegation for their reaction. The co-chairs are Rev. Dr. Bill Arnold (clergy) and Alan Beuscher (laity). They answered the questions in consultation with other members of the delegation. Here are the responses:
Question: Were you surprised by the news that GC is not only postponed, but postponed until sometime in 2021?
Answer: The delegation was not surprised by the postponement. We briefly discussed the possibility of this during our last face-to-face meeting on Saturday, March 7.We celebrate that we are a global church and we know it would be difficult for our delegates to gather together during this pandemic. We are disappointed after all the hard work done to prepare for General Conference, by us and others responsible for organizing the event. But the most urgent ministry need in this moment is caring for our churches and communities in light of the COVID-19 crisis. The postponement of General Conference, while important, seems to be a small sacrifice in comparison to the crisis our world is experiencing.
Q: Have the delegates met or are you planning to meet (via Zoom, of course) to talk about the news?
A: We had what we thought would be our last preparation meeting on March 7, just before the crisis worsened in the U.S. We have not met since the announcement, but we are in constant communication via Basecamp (a digital platform for groups to collaborate). As updates are given, we are sharing that information and how it potentially impacts our work.We are currently working on the logistics for those who have made room reservations, plane tickets, etc. Once we have more information regarding new dates for General Conference, the executive team will meet to determine next steps for our delegation.
Q: What in general are your personal feelings, not just about the delay itself, but the debate over the future of the church? Will the delay potentially affect how delegates, and the church as a whole, look at the issue from a different perspective by 2021?
A: We cannot predict how any of this might affect the outcome of General Conference. It will certainly give more time for the consideration of the various plans and legislation being brought forth, specifically the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace. The postponement will likely not change anyone’s perspective around the issues at hand. The legislative issues present before the delay will continue to be the same issues present after the delay. Our work as your delegation will continue through prayer and conversation with one another.
Q: What does the delegation do from here, in the near term? Continuing to have discussions, or putting things on hold while we all try to navigate the coronavirus quarantines?
A: At this point, our delegation is focused on their local contexts and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on our families, our churches, our communities, and the world. We will continue to be in contact with each other via Basecamp and will continue to prepare for General Conference whenever it occurs. When information is available that can be passed on to the Conference, we will do so through our KAC Communications Team.
Q: Anything else the delegates might want to add?
A: We covet the prayers of the people of the Kentucky Annual Conference for each other during this difficult time as we are seeking to minister with one another and our communities.
  • Compiled by Alan Wild