WASHINGTON — The draft of the revised Social Principles was released Thursday after years of listening and writing sessions. United Methodists are invited to weigh in on the content throughout the following months.
The draft and the mechanism through which individuals can submit comment are accessible at www.umcjustice.org/sp2020.
The draft and subsequent materials are available in English, French, Portuguese and Swahili.
General Conference in 2012 tasked the General Board of Church and Society with conducting listening sessions across the connection. From these listening sessions, Church and Society concluded that the Social Principles needed to be more theologically grounded, more globally relevant, and more succinct. At the 2016 General Conference, Church and Society was further tasked with bringing revised Social Principles to the 2020 General Conference.
“The current draft of the Social Principles is very much a work in progress,” stated Dr. Randall Miller, vice president of the General Board of Church and Society and chair of the Social Principles Task Force. “Very often in our Church what is made public is close to a finished draft, but in this case the GBCS Board and the members of the Writing Team made a very deliberate decision to make this working draft available for comments and suggestions by United Methodists from around the world. As much as humanly possible, we want the new Social Principles to reflect the diversity of our worldwide connection.”
“The Social Principles strengthen the witness of United Methodists across the world,” said the Rev. Neal Christie, assistant general secretary for education and leadership formation at Church and Society. “These words reflect who we aspire to be as a Christian community engaged in the timely realities of our world. I hope this revision process energizes United Methodists to use the Social Principles in their congregations and communities.”
Readers of the draft will notice that two sections are not drafted: “Human Sexuality” and “Rights of Persons of All Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities.” Church and Society has decided to be informed by the actions of the special session of the General Conference in regards to the content for these sections. Following the called session of the General Conference in 2019, language will be developed in preparation for the 2020 General Conference.
“This has been a yearslong process, and we are excited about this next step,” shared the Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, general secretary of the General Board of Church and Society. “I am grateful for the hundreds of United Methodists who have devoted time to this endeavor in service to the Church, and urge everyone to read the draft and submit feedback.”
The opportunity to weigh in on the draft will run until the end of August. At which point, an editorial team will compile the feedback and edit the document for presentation to the General Board of Church and Society.