Reblogged from: Herald Magazine’s “Connect | Engage | Inspire”
by Greg Clark – Integrated Communications, Community of Christ Intl. HQ
Australia and Canada stand at the forefront of national conferences under the guidance of Section 164, but the USA isn’t far behind. Neither is the British Isles.
The USA conference will run from April 19–21, 2013, in Independence, Missouri, immediately after World Conference. The British Isles conference will be scheduled for later in that year.
The USA conference will involve 1,500 delegates elected by mission centers and special groups like Graceland University students, plus about 20 ex officio delegates.
Similar to the conference in Canada, it will address two issues. The first is whether to extend the sacrament of marriage to persons of the same sex/gender or provide a church-recognized way for two people of the same sex/gender to publicly express a commitment to each other. The second is to allow people in committed, monogamous, long-term, same-sex/gender relationships to be considered for ordination when called by the Holy Spirit.
As with the conferences in Australia and Canada, the USA conference will not make final decisions. Instead it will decide whether to send recommendations to the First Presidency and Council of Twelve.
Preparations will take months. Members are to discern, study, and pray about the subjects while remaining open to the leadings of God’s Spirit. Then the national conference will use a consent-building approach. It will lead to a final vote, with a two-thirds majority required to recommend a change in policy.
The conference will fall under the guidance of Section 164, and the results could continue or change church policies for the country’s nearly 120,000 members.
The team of USA apostles said the national conference will provide an opportunity to be a “signal community.” It will do this by demonstrating how to do the hard work of collectively discovering God’s will and developing consent on important issues, as opposed to allowing a simple majority to decide.