Bishop Larry Goodpaster’s response to the health care bill. With the UMC HT in the recent passing of the health care reform bill it is nice to see my bishop coming out and reminded everyone who speaks on behalf of the denomination. It is a nice review of our church polity.
Thank you for your note and your concern about The United Methodist Church and the recent conversations about health care in the United States. First, as you know, no one speaks for The United Methodist Church except the General Conference which meets every four years. The General Conference is composed of almost 1,000 delegates, one-half lay persons and one-half clergy from around the world. We in the Western North Carolina Conference have 26 voting delegates. Bishops have no voice or vote in the proceedings of the General Conference.
For more than 20 years, The United Methodist Church, through the General Conference, has stated its position regarding health care. Our most recent statement, developed and adopted by the 2008 General Conference, long before any of these most recent debates and actions in Congress, can be found in the social principles of The Book of Discipline, page 117. In addition, the 2008 General Conference adopted resolution #3201 regarding health care, and that resolution can be found on page 346 of The Book of Resolutions. As bishops and leaders of our denomination, we cannot act or make statements outside the bounds of these actions of General Conference.
Please know of my continued prayers for you and for our church as together we seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.