African delegates heading to General Conference want Modified Traditional Plan prioritized

African delegates heading to General Conference want Modified Traditional Plan prioritized

Some African delegates attending the arranged Africa Initiative pre conference gathering at the Lake Williamson in Carlinville, Illinois resolved to support the Modified Traditional Plan at the Special General Conference of the United Methodist. Leading devotion on Thursday, February 21, 2019, Rev. Mainsa Daiman called on the attending delegates not to allow themselves to be detracted from their original plan of supporting the Traditional Plan now, Modified Traditional Plan. “Do not pay attention to those who want to scare you by saying the  church will be divided if the delegates attending the General Conference vote for the Modified Traditional Plan,” he urged.

Rev. Mainsa Daiman, Pastor of the Soluwezi Parish of the Zambia United Methodist Church

He pointed out that the United Methodist Church belongs to God, adding, “only God can decide which direction this church will be going after the decision of the Special General Conference.” Daiman noted that this General Conference should serve as a place where the long standing discussion on human sexuality will end. Liking the human sexuality discussion to the walls of Jericho, Rev. Daiman said the walls of human sexuality must come down at the Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church which takes place February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. “We are here to end this discussion once and for all,” he emphasized.

Other United Methodists at the Africa Initiative gathering speaking to United Methodist News Service (UMNS) said the Modified Traditional Plan will receive the full support most of the delegates coming from Africa. The Lay Leader of the Liberia Annual Conference, Tolbert Nyenswah said the Liberian delegation resolved at their 186th Annual Session in Liberia that the Modified Traditional Plan was going be supported by all members of the Liberian delegation. “We don’t want the church to be divided, so even if we vote for the Modified Traditional Plan, I will urge our brothers and sisters advocating for the onther plans not to leave the church,” Nyenswah warned. Though Nyenswah is not an official delegate to the Special General Conference, he attended the Africa Initiative pre conference gathering alongside the Liberian delegation as an observer of the gathering and is also going to observe.

Partial view of delegates to the Africa Initiative pre General Conference gathering at Lake Williamson in Caniville, Illinois.

As the Lay Leader of the Liberia Annual Conference he will form part of the 2020 General Conference delegation from Liberia.

Rev George D. Wilson, Connectional Table director of the Liberia Annual Conference said the training on General Conference Legislative voting process was timely for most of the African delegates to the General Conference, stressing, “voting at general conferences has being one of the difficult and confusing thing for first time attendees from Africa.” He said educating General Conference delegates ahead of the gathering should be place on the agenda of the United Methodist Church to avoid misunderstanding of conference issues among delegates. Delegates should not be taught the legislative voting processes only in time of critical discussions and decision making,” Wilson said.

Also speaking to United Methodist News Service (UMNS), Andrei Kim, district superintendent of the Eastern District of Russia Conference said the gathering was rewarding, adding, “it provided us with sufficient information that will help us participate in the General Conference with much understanding.” Kim said the Russia United Methodist Church is supporting the Modified Traditional Plan at home and as delegates they will be doing the same at the General conference. He pointed out that the teaching that was conducted by the Africa Initiative was very educative and has prepared he and his delegation for the coming days at the in St. Louis, Missouri.

Organized for African delegates to the 2019 Special of the General Conference, the Africa Initiative pre General Conference gathering brought together serveral annual conferences from across Africa with Russia and the Philippines attending. Notably, the delegation from Sierra Leone did not attend the pre conference at Lake Williamson in Caniville, Illinois.

Partial view of delegates to the Africa Initiative pre General Conference gathering at Lake Williamson in Caniville, Illinois.