This chart is a summary of recommendations in the Commission on a Way Forward’s report to the special 2019 General Conference with particular focus on how each plan impacts the central conferences.  For more information, read the entire report of the Commission which can be accessed HERE.

One Church Plan

Affirms sexual relations only within the covenant of monogamous marriage between two adults (thereby permitting homosexual marriage)

Declares we are not of one mind regarding human sexuality and permits persons in the church to interpret and decide issues of human sexuality differently

Permits pastors to bless monogamous homosexual marriages anywhere secular law permits such marriages

Removes restrictive language from the Book of Discipline that prohibits same-gender weddings at UMC properties and ordination of “self-avowed practicing homosexuals”

Does not require churches or conferences to accept such practices and contains language to protect consciences of pastors and congregations

Connectional Conference Plan

Replaces current five U.S. jurisdictional conference with three connectional conferences based on agreement on issues related to the definition of marriage and ordination standards – Progressive, Unity, and Traditional

All three would use a general Book of Discipline (Articles of Religion, General Rules, Confession of Faith) with the ability to adapt other portions to their context of ministry

Provides space for different practices and beliefs by the different connectional conferences

Requires numerous Constitutional Amendments

“Modified” Traditional Plan

Retains the church’s current position on the practice of homosexuality, enhances accountability, and provides a gracious exit path for annual conferences, local churches, and clergy who cannot abide by the requirements of the Book of Discipline into a new self-governing Methodist church

This plan will be adjusted to adhere to Judicial Council Decision 1366

One Church Plan

Would need to make their own statement on ordination of practicing LGBTQ individuals and performance of same-sex marriage OR they would be governed by general church statements

Definition of marriage allowing for same-sex marriage could not be adapted by central conferences

While they might adopt their own statement, central conferences would be part of a church which has practicing LGBTQ bishops who are bishops of the whole church, practicing LGBTQ pastors who are ordained to serve anywhere in the church, and where same-sex marriage ceremonies are performed in some parts of the church

Will be served by general boards and agencies that overtly support LGBTQ causes

Funding remains as present

Connectional Conference Plan

Would become its own connectional conference or could choose to join one of the three U.S. connectional conferences

Would be part of a church which has practicing LGBTQ bishops who are part of whole church’s Council of Bishops, but whose authority is limited to the connectional conference in which they serve

Would be part of a church having practicing LGBTQ pastors and where same-sex marriage ceremonies are performed in some parts of the church

Funding remains as present

“Modified” Traditional Plan

No change except those who act contrary to church’s discipline will be held accountable and encouraged to depart from the UMC to form a separate self-governing Methodist church

Funding remains as present

You can download printable versions of this chart comparing the major plans before the special General Conference HERE