Legislative summary from 2012 annual conference session
by Paul Thomas, director of communications
A member of the 2012 Detroit Annual Conference session speaks during debate on a resolution. (Photo by Jeremy Africa)
During the 2012 session of the Detroit Annual Conference, members considered 13 items of legislation ranging from administrative policies to items that dealt with social issues.
Each year, by February 15, motions to initiate new business (resolutions) are received from individuals, local churches, or agencies of The United Methodist Church within the Detroit Conference. During the annual conference session, the resolutions are assigned to one of 10 legislative sections, which deal with each business item and make recommendations to the plenary. The members of the conference act upon the recommendations of each legislative section during the plenary session.
The following is a summary of the legislation and other major business items considered by the conference, in order of resolution number. To view the voting items that were presented to the 2012 annual conference session, click here
Resolution 1 - Pension Benefit Rates and Annual Conference Appointment Recommendations
The conference established the benefit rates for 2013, as recommended by the conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits.
Resolution 2 - Reaffirmation of the Detroit Annual Conference's Supper for Liberian Pastors Salaries
Marking the 10th anniversary of the original adoption of a resolution to support the salaries of pastors in the Liberia Annual Conference, the conference reaffirmed a challenge for each clergy member of the Detroit Conference to contributed at least one-half of one percent of their salary annually. In addition, each congregation is challenged to match or exceed the amount donated by the clergy serving the church. The Detroit Conference is in a covenant partnership with the Liberia Annual Conference.
Information on pledge forms and giving instructions will be laid out in the future for clergy and churches of the conference. Please note that contributions to this challenge should be remitted through local church treasurers and not sent to Liberia director. The conference treasurer will forward all monies to the Liberia Annual Conference, where it will be administered in accordance with that conference's policies.
An online giving mechanism will be created in the future so that clergy, churches, and individuals can donate to the salary support challenge directly.
This resolution was withdrawn by its author prior to the beginning of the annual conference session.
Resolution 4 - Annual Conference and Episcopacy Compliance: Reconciling Congregations, Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), Argus Foundation
This resolution was defeated.
Resolution 5 - Restorative Justice Coordinator
The conference encouraged each congregation to identify one person within their membership to be designated as the church's restorative justice coordinator. This is a person who feels called to reach out and be willing to identify with, befriend, and mentor those individuals in their community who have been incarcerated or recently released.
Local church restorative justice coordinators will receive training through the United Methodist Men, Forgotten Man Ministries, and other resources as determined by the conference Board of Church and Society.
Resolution 6 - Questions for 2012 Candidates for Federal Offices
The conference encouraged its congregations and members to pose eight questions to candidates for federal offices during the 2012 campaign:
- Will you work to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons in the world?
- Do you support legislation that requires all U.S. troops and military contractors to withdraw from Afghanistan by July 1, 2013?
- The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, first opened for signature in 1996, would ban all tests of nuclear weapons. Do you support the U.S. ratification of the CTBT?
- President Obama envisions a world free of nuclear weapons. However, the U.S. still maintains some 5,000 nuclear weapons, each a city-destroyer. Furthermore, funding is proposed to rebuild the factories that make nuclear warhead parts. Will you oppose such funding?
- Congress annually waives the legal requirement for an audit of the Defense Department. Will you prioritize ending the practice of waving this obligation? Will you increase the transparency of defense spending?
- Do you support legislation to increase funding to public safety, public education, health care, housing, and infrastructure?
- In February 2010, the U.S. Department of Defense "Quadrennial Defense Review" designated climate change to be a "National Security Threat." What do you propose to counter this threat to national security?
- In general, what would you do to prevent an escalation of military competition between the United States and China?
Resolution 7 - Call Michigan's Senators to Prevent War with Iran
The conference urged the members of the 2012 Detroit Annual Conference session to contact Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow on Monday-Tuesday, May 21-22, 2012, to state opposition to a military attack on Iran.
Resolution 8 - Develop Jr. Love Masters
This resolution was defeated.
Resolution 9 - Opposition to Drones in Michigan
This resolution was defeated.
Resolution 10 - Fragrance-free Worship, Meeting and Church Events
This resolution, which encouraged all church events and meetings to be designated as "fragrance-free," was referred to the conference Committee on Disability Concerns.
Resolution 11 - Appoint Men's Ministry Liaisons
The conference mandated that all churches that lack an organized unit of United Methodist Men appoint a men's ministry liaison. This person's role would be to receive communications intended for the members of UMM organizations. These purpose of these communications would be to identify and seek to engage men in ministries that satisfy a critical need in their community and develop a deeper sense of discipleship.
Resolution 12 - Equitable Compensation
The conference established a minimum base compensation schedule for 2013 as recommended by the conference Committee on Equitable Compensation. (Click here to view the schedule
Resolution 13 - 2012 Revised Protection Policy
Resolution 14 - Churches: Concealed-Weapon Free Zones
The conference mandated that all churches and ministries in the Detroit Conference remain concealed weapon-free zones, regardless of any changes made to the concealed weapons laws in the State of Michigan. This restriction does not apply to qualified law enforcement officers.
Imagine No Malaria Campaign (motion from the floor)
The conference voted to plan and implement a four-year campaign to raise at least $500,000 for Imagine No Malaria, an effort of The United Methodist Church to eradicate malaria in Africa. The Conference Leadership Team, in collaboration with Livonia: Newburg UMC and other conference agencies and churches, will begin the campaign no later than the adjournment of the 2013 Detroit Annual Conference session.
2013 Budget and Financial Policies (presented as part of the report of the conference Council on Finance and Administration)
The conference approved a $9.7 million budget for 2013, less than one percent higher than the previous year. Included in the amount being apportioned to churches is $7.3 million for a common budget and $2.4 million for pensions. With a decrease in its general church apportionments and its administrative expenses, the conference increased funding to its program ministries by nearly 13 percent. (Click here to view the 2013 financial policies and budget