As followers of the One who promised, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32), we eagerly seek the truth.
We are deeply concerned that any possible irregular or unethical actions in delegate elections, preparations, credentialing, or voting at the 2019 Special Session of General Conference could undermine the integrity of its work or hinder the witness of The United Methodist Church (UMC).
Recent credible reports of possible voting violations provide an opportunity for the UMC to demonstrate commitment to an open book approach with full confidence that the truth sets us free for faithful ministry.
We are mindful that the Commission on General Conference has authorized a task force of its members “to address matters related to credentialing, voting and other systemic issues of the 2019 special session.” With all due respect for the Commission’s work, given the serious nature of accusations related to voting at the highly polarized St. Louis session, the circumstances require an independent investigation.
We urge the Commission on General Conference in consultation with the Council of Bishops to name and authorize an independent team of persons with appropriate investigatory, legal, and related professional expertise.
We urge all delegates to the 2019 Special Session of General Conference to join in calling for the investigation and to promptly report any concerns about actions prior to or during the General Conference to the independent team once named.
The independent team should issue their report to the Commission on General Conference and the Council of Bishops no later than November 2019 along with any recommended changes in rules and processes.
We invite every member of The United Methodist Church to join us in praying that the Holy Spirit will fulfill Jesus’ promise that the Spirit of truth lead us into all truth (John 16:13) for the sake of our witness to the One who is the way, truth, and life.