The General Conference met in Charlotte, NC, on April 23 – May 3, 2024. Over 1,000 pieces of legislation were considered and debated in committees and from the plenary floor. On this page, we will attempt to answer questions you may have. Answers are subject to updates, as some issues will need to be reviewed by the Judicial Council.

Click here for a list of actions taken:  Legislative Recap from General  Conference

Please continue to submit questions to the delegation or through your district superintendent. This list of FAQs will be expanded as needed.

All TWK voting members of the 2024 annual conference are invited to District Gatherings later this month. Please remember to RSVP to your district office.

The UMC is updating the Book of Discipline to reflect approved changes in wording for the 2020/2024 Book of Discipline. You may follow those updates on this web page:



What did the General Conference approve regarding same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBT persons?

The legislation passed by the General Conference removed the language that prohibited pastors from officiating same-sex marriages. Language prohibiting the ordination of LGBT persons in the UMC was also removed.

When do these changes go into effect?

These changes go into effect at the close of the General Conference on May 3, 2024.

Is there still room for conservative, traditional clergy and laity in the UMC?

Absolutely! We are living into a space where we hold doctrine in full agreement, and Wesleyan practice as a way of living our theology. We respectfully hold space for differing views of marriage and who God calls into ordained and licensed ministry. We trust God to hold these differences, while we practice our belief and respect colleagues and churches who hold boundaries that support their understanding. We maintain an open table of Holy Communion for all by the grace of Jesus Christ. 

How do the decisions made at the General Conference change the mission and ministry of the TWK Conference and at my local church?

Our commitment to who God has called us to be does not change. Together, we discerned this vision from God for the TWKUMC:


  1. A people who are rooted in Christ and Spirit-led.
  2. A people who seeks to journey purposefully, humbly, and joyfully together, helping one another along the way of love, prioritizing relationships over ideas. 
  3. We seek to show the world another way; to be the Beloved Community through acts of love, reconciliation, and justice.

At your local church, your leadership and members will continue to chart the course of your ministry and your church mission, just as is currently the case. 

What does our church have to do now to accommodate the decisions made at the General Conference? 

The recent decisions of the General Conference do not require action from anyone. However, the decisions do leave space for change to occur if that is the desire of your congregation.

Will pastors be forced to officiate same-sex weddings?

UMC pastors have always decided who they will marry. This is based on several factors including the couples’ preparation for the marriage covenant. This has not changed. Pastors will continue to decide who they will marry. There is no mechanism in Conference leadership nor desire on the part of the bishop to determine who a pastor will marry.  

As the newly adopted language reads, we will “not penalize any clergy for performing, or refraining from performing, a same-sex marriage service.” The desires of all clergy are to be honored and not judged by others.

Does our church now have to host same-sex weddings?

The General Conference legislation explicitly protects the right of clergy and churches not to officiate at or host same-sex weddings. The UMC will not “require any local church to hold or prohibit a local church from holding a same-sex marriage service on property owned by a local church.”

We know that different people have different opinions on these matters and our churches are in different contexts within the bounds of the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference.  The bishop expects that the diversity of everyone’s opinion and everyone’s context will be honored.

IN RE: Petition for Declaratory Decision from the 2024 General Conference on the Meaning, Application, and Effect of ¶ 2533 of the 2016 Book of Discipline Concerning the Right of the Board of Trustees of a Local Church to Adopt Policies Prohibiting the Conduct of Same-Sex Marriage Ceremonies

So can anyone become a UMC ordained minister now?

In addition, the General Conference has decided that a person’s entrance into the ministry process of the United Methodist Church shall not be prohibited by gender, ethnic origin, color, economic status, and now adds – by removal from the Discipline – sexual orientation.

In other words, candidates for ministry are to be eligible by their perceived gifts and potential for effectiveness in the proclamation or teaching of the gospel, the making of disciples, providing pastoral care, or connecting the church to the world.



Regionalization was approved by the General Conference. What is regionalization?


The Constitution provides central conferences* with certain powers and duties, including: “To make … such changes and adaptations of the General Discipline as the conditions in the respective areas may require, subject to the powers that have been or shall be vested in the General Conference.” United Methodists in the United States do not have this power.

*Central conference: One of seven geographic regions outside the United States, each composed of annual conferences as determined by the General Conference.

The issues

With no provision for U.S. delegates to decide separately upon matters that affect only the U.S., much of the agenda of the General Conference is taken up by U.S.-only matters. 

Further, exactly what the central conferences may amend in the Book of Discipline has remained unclear.  This has led to both hesitancies to amend and non-transparency about changes that have been implemented in central conferences.

Creating a new decision-making body for U.S. issues aims to allow the General Conference to focus solely on issues with worldwide impact.  Creating a single Book of Discipline that applies worldwide with clarity about which parts of it are amendable regionally promotes regional customization and full transparency about changes made. While the General Book of Discipline is not yet complete, the legislation proposed in 2024 would enable all regions to set qualifications for church membership, establish their own standards for clergy, and determine what constitutes chargeable offenses under church law within their own region, among other things.

Petitions involving amendments to the constitution require a 2/3 majority of the General Conference members voting and a 2/3 affirmative vote of the aggregate number of members of the annual conferences meeting in 2025. Others require a simple majority of the General Conference. 

When will regionalization go into effect?

The regionalization legislation passed by the General Conference now must be approved by UMC annual conferences worldwide. The aggregate vote from annual conferences must reach ⅔ vote for approval. This likely will take until 2026 for all votes to take place. The TWK plans to take up regionalization and hold that vote at the 2025 annual conference.



The General Conference approved the Revised Social Principles. Why were the Social Principles revised?

The Social Principles were revised in a best effort to address contemporary issues and undergird disciplinary language revisions in the Book of Discipline. The revisions involved 12 years of development and engagement from thousands of United Methodists around the world.

The revised Social Principles are theologically grounded, use succinct language, and are compatible within different contexts. The document contains six main sections: (1) the preface, (2) the preamble, (3) the community of creation, (4) the social community, (5) the economic community and (6) the political community. 

The history of Methodism and its predecessor bodies’ commitment to social principles can be found in the preface; the theological convictions of the church are found in the preamble. 

  • The document integrates Biblical and Wesleyan references throughout the text.
  • Each principle is written in a concise and clear way. 
  • The worldwide nature of the church is reflected in all areas of the document. 

Below is the adopted Revised Social Principles legislation:

Were assertions about homosexuality removed from the Social Principles?

Yes. General Conference delegates eliminated that “the practice of homosexuality… is incompatible with Christian teaching.” ¶161,¶162 The Social Community 

In the same vote, delegates affirmed “marriage as a sacred, lifelong covenant that brings two people of faith (adult man and adult woman of consenting age or two adult persons of consenting age) into a union of one another and into deeper relationship with God and the religious community.”

Did the UMC position on abortion change?

No. Despite petitions to do so, the UMC position on abortion did not change. It can be found here:

When do the Revised Social Principles go into effect?

The revised document goes into effect January 1, 2025.


What was approved concerning the UMC relationship with the Episcopal Church?

General Conference approved a full communion agreement with the Episcopal Church. If the Episcopal Church affirms the agreement, it will mean the denominations recognize each other as the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church in with the Gospel is rightly preached and taught.” The Episcopal Church will address whether to approve this at a future meeting of their body.

How will the change in the number of bishops affect the TWK?

The General Conference approved adding two bishops for Africa, for a total of 15 and set the number of U.S. bishops at 32 – a decrease from the 39 active bishops and one retired bishop currently serving episcopal areas in the U.S.  The bishop salaries did not change. The approved distribution of the U.S. bishops provides one less bishop to be assigned in the Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ). While the TWK had hoped not to share a bishop after Bishop McAlilly retires this summer, there now is a possibility that we will. That decision will be made in July at the SEJ Conference.

How did the role of deacons change?

Legislation was approved allowing deacons to preside at the sacraments – Holy Communion and baptism — when contextually appropriate. This begins on January 1, 2025.

Was environmental and climate change legislation considered?

Yes. The majority of legislation supported by climate justice activists within The United Methodist Church was passed by General Conference on the consent calendar in the early part of its second week. But they were unable to get General Conference to require that United Methodist institutions, including Wespath — the denomination’s pension and benefits agency — divest from fossil fuel company stocks.

What did the General Conference decide about apportionments?

Apportionments actually will be reduced. In an effort to balance funding important connectional ministries through the general church budget and supporting the local church during financial challenges due to the pandemic and disaffiliation, delegates approved a compromise regarding apportionments. Conferences will shift from their current base rate of 3.29% to a base rate of 2.6% for 2025 and 2026. Then, if the apportionment collection rate is 90% or higher in those years, the base rate will increase to 2.9% for 2027 and 2028.

For more information about the budget approved by the General Conference: Budget Highlights from 2020/2024 General Conference

What is the Clergy Retirement Plan Change approved by the General Conference?

Wespath has offered the Clergy Retirement Security Program for years, which combines defined-benefit and defined-contribution components. That program will be frozen at the end of 2025, with Compass taking effect on Jan. 1, 2026.

Clergy will retain CRSP benefits earned through the end of 2025, then begin earning benefits through Compass. The benefits of clergy who already have retired are not affected by the plan.

With Compass, clergy will have retirement accounts that they control. They are encouraged to contribute at least 4% of their salary to receive a full matching contribution from the church. All U.S. clergy, regardless of their church’s size, will get at least a $150 monthly contribution plus 3% of pay for their account balance — and beyond that will get another dollar-for-dollar match on up to 4% of pay.

Compass also has features to help clergy who are paying off student loans.

The Compass plan is described in full in a UM News article and by materials from Wespath.


More questions will be answered as they are received.