A Special Session of the Annual Conference of the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church is called to be held on Wednesday, June 14, 2023 starting at 4:00 pm in the Great Hall of the Erie Convention Center. Voting membership of the called Special Session will consist of the clergy members as defined in ¶32 of The Book of Discipline and the lay members of the Annual Conference in accordance with The Book of Discipline ¶602.
The sole purpose of the called Special Session of the Annual Conference will be to affirm or not affirm the current qualified requests for disaffiliation under ¶2553 of The Book of Discipline. The call for this session conforms to the disciplinary requirements found in ¶ 369.6 and ¶603.5.
This Special Session will allow those who have chosen to disaffiliate to vote on their disaffiliation during this Special Session. Those persons may then be free to focus on their congregation’s new mission and ministry without having to be burdened with the June 15-17, 2023 conferencing around the mission and ministry of the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference of which they have said they no longer wish to be a part.
Let us continue to keep all of those in the disaffiliation process and those managing the process in our prayers.
We have heard some questions about this special session. To clarify, all voting members of the Annual Conference can attend and vote at this special session. The only business on the agenda is to affirm the list of disaffiliating churches that have reached agreements with the Conference’s board of trustees. All the necessary enabling motions concerning disaffiliation will be cared for at this special session. Any further discussion about those churches who have qualified for disaffiliation and approved at the special session is not on the agenda for the regular session of the Annual Conference scheduled for June 15-17.
According to our rules, voting members from the disaffiliating churches have the right to vote at Annual Conference because disaffiliation agreements are not final until all terms are satisfied. However, since the scheduled business of the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church will no longer apply to the mission and ministry of churches and members who have chosen to disaffiliate, they are not required to attend the regular session of the Annual Conference.
Bishop Moore-Koikoi offers a word about parliamentary procedure.
Once a session of the annual conference is adjourned, no subsequent annual conference session can ask for reconsideration of any motions that were approved or rejected by a previous session of annual conference. Any reconsideration must be requested by someone who voted on the prevailing side before the session is adjourned.
Therefore, if during the regular session of the 2023 Annual Conference of the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference, anyone requests reconsideration of any of the Disaffiliation Agreements that were affirmed or rejected by the Called Session of Annual Conference, their request will be ruled Out of Order.