Greater New Jersey representatives gather together at General Conference 2016 in Portland, Ore. Photo by Aaron Wilson
morning plenary May 19 Cynthia Kent gc2016
Cyndi Kent, Chair of the Board of Church and Society, spoke to the General Conference about Native American issues. Photo by Aaron Wilson

GNJ Plays Key Role at 2016 General Conference

July 7, 2016 | | News

Greater New Jersey was represented well by clergy and lay delegates at the 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church held in Portland Oregon in May.  During the 10 day conference, representatives from GNJ’s elected delegation and representatives from GNJ serving in other capacities led high profile committees, participated in important worship services and shared their voices on the issues facing the denomination

Bethany Amey Sutton, a lay delegate from GNJ, was elected Legislative Committee Chair for Church and Society I, a high profile and important responsibly.   Sutton also joined the stage as part of a celebration for United Methodist Women.

Greater New Jersey Chancellor Lynn Caterson was elected Vice Chair of the Reference Committee, a group that meets two days prior to General Conference and is responsible for getting petitions to the correct legislative committees.

Caterson developed a plan to change the General Conference rules which concerns an advanced legislative panel of volunteers to review every petition submitted, documenting each related discipline paragraph including the constitutional paragraph and relevant judicial council decisions. The commission approved Caterson’s plan and adopted the new rule.

“This prevents petitions from being adopted that have other parts of The Discipline that need to be changed at the same time,” Caterson said. “It also helps the legislative committee with previous explanations that the judicial council has made concerning these paragraphs.”

Rev. Tom Lank, chair of the Greater New Jersey Delegation,  and Caterson were elected to be on the interjurisdictional episcopacy committee with Caterson elected to the committee’s executive board.

Judy Colorado, Gateway North District Lay Leader and Chair of GNJ’sCommittee on Ethnic Local Church Concerns, was a lay delegate at General Conference assigned to  the Discipleship Legislative Committee. She was elected as a new board member to the General Commission on Finance and Administration (GCFA) as nominated by the Council of Bishops from the Northeastern Jurisdiction for this quadrennium.

“I have been blessed to have participated at 2016 General Conference,” said Colorado. “It was my first time as a delegate and I have affirmed through my experience that the United Methodist Church is gifted with diversity and this global reality is truly a gift to us from God. It is through our inclusive make-up that our church can be a better witness of God’s love, grace, and justice to the world.”

Cyndi Kent, Chair of the Board of Church and Society, took to the floor at General Conference to speak on Native American issues. She specifically advocated for legislation to prevent UMC boards and agencies from holding meetings in cities with sports mascots that are derogatory to Native American issues.

Others participating included Delaware Bay District Superintendetn Rev. Dr. Jisun Kwak being elected as sub chair of Church and Society II and Rev. Eunice Vegta-Perez, clergy delegate and Senior Pastor of Vernon UMC taking part in worship.

Bishop John Schol had the honor of presiding over the closing session which was livestreamed on www.umc.org.