There will be less than 16 months between the special session of General Conference in 2019 and the regular session of General Conference in 2020. I believe that continuity between the two General Conferences will be essential, given that any action taken in 2019 will directly influence legislation proposed in 2020, and delegates in 2020 will need to be as informed and well-versed as possible about the decisions made in 2019. There will be need for a consistent base of knowledge, confidence, and trust within the crucial one-year time between General Conferences. Any number of observers may attend General Conference without voice or vote, yet may fellowship and consult with the delegates from their Annual Conference outside business sessions.
After considering the Connecting Council recommendation to affirm the 2016 delegation a the delegation for 2019, I plan to make this motion from the floor:
I move that the election of the Great Plains Annual Conference delegation to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences of 2020 be held during the Great Plains Conference session of 2018 and that the 2020 delegation attend the special session of General Conference in 2019 as observers in fellowship with the Great Plains Annual Conference delegation for mutual advising and sharing crucial knowledge with the cost to be covered by the General Conference expense reserve fund.
I believe the Great Plains Annual Conference is in a position to help lead the decision-making at General Conference. I hope that this motion will empower both the 2019 and 2020 delegations to take on a greater leadership role at General Conference to help influence the future of our denomination.
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Questions and Responses
Does this mean we should consider electing a new delegation for 2019?
No. The Connecting Council is recommending that we affirm 2016 delegation as the delegation for 2019. I support this recommendation.
How will we cover the cost for the 2020 delegation to attend?
In conversation with our conference staff and CFA, there are sufficient funds remaining from the 2016 delegation expense to cover the expenses for both the 2019 delegation and the 2020 delegation to be present at the special session of General Conference in 2019.
With the special session in St. Louis and only lasting three days, it is likely that there will be no flights (mileage instead) and not much in hotel and meal expense due to the short timeframe of the special session. The actual General Conference delegates are paid by the General Church and the annual conference only pays for Jurisdictional and reserves (and if this petition passes some additional persons not on the current delegation but added to the 2020 delegation.
How will we cover the cost for the voting machines in 2018?
The annual conference has budgeted money annually to build up what we need for voting equipment every four years. This motion will simply move that expense from 2019 to 2018.
Will the voting machines be available in 2018?
The annual conference will work with a vendor to ensure that voting machines will be available for the annual conference session of 2018.
Last time we used the voting machines in Wichita, we had trouble getting them to work. Won’t we have the same problem again?
The wireless environment in cities and convention centers changes regularly and it is very difficult to forecast the exact technical environment in which we will use the wireless voting devices. While there are both user-generated and technical issues with using electronic voting devices, I am confident that they will be able to be adequately addressed and will work with a vendor to ensure the best possible experience. Electronic voting devices are much preferable to a manual voting process.