General Conference Briefings Blog: April 25, 2024

by | Apr 25, 2024 | General Conference Briefing

Be still and know that I am God” -Psalm 46: 10. 

This year’s General Conference theme is “…and know that I am God.” As you probably notice, it’s the second part of the full verse. One of the bishops on stage joked that the theme of the 2020 General Conference was the full verse, but since we were still for so many months that year, they shortened the theme to just the second part. The call so far has been more to go than to be still.

The Episcopal Address

The Episcopal Address, which is the address to the General Conference and the overall church by one of the bishops, encouraged us to go. Bishop L. Jonathan Holston of South Carolina gave the address. He offered a strong and inspiring message to the church recognizing that even in the midst of challenges and changes, God’s peace can be found through it all because God is always there. 

The church always stands in the tension of “who we are, who we say we are, and who we want to be,” Bishop Holston remarked several times. “Our call is to live into God’s Kingdom, not try to build our own.” How do we do this? He responded that we place the great commandment of Jesus above all else to love God and love neighbor and be a beacon of hope in a hurting world. 

Again, similar to the opening worship service, the Episcopal Address didn’t shy away from the realities of the world, but instead reminded us and challenged us to go make a difference. An emotional Bishop Holston ended his address by preaching, “It is about this and only this: How do we become who God needs us to be? We embrace the radical, world-transforming love given so freely by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Are you ready to be the people that God needs for us to be? Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” It was a powerful word that ended by reflecting Jesus’ Great Commission to go! 

Hope & Unity

As the business continued, we heard from two young adults in our denomination, a young woman from Florida and a young man from Sierra Leone, Africa, who together offered the Young People’s Address. Both young people gave honest and hopeful messages. The young man from Sierra Leone reminded all of us that “reconciliation and coming together is part of our tradition. We must be more about uniting than dividing at this point.” 

There were additional reports to the conference related to the upcoming financial budget proposal, and the revised social principles, among others. The 14 legislative committees have also started their work by first electing officers within each committee and starting to review petitions that have come to each specific group. This work will continue each day until Saturday. 

Again, as I shared in my previous blog post, there remains a beautiful spirit of hope and unity at General Conference. United Methodists have essentially taken over downtown (they call it Uptown) Charlotte. I see United Methodists from all over the world gathering with joy and hope throughout the city. As I have talked with several local folks around Uptown, they seem genuinely interested as I shared about this global gathering of United Methodist Christians. This gives me so much hope for the future. People are interested in a church of love, justice, hope, and joy. Let’s be that church! 

Please know that you can find additional daily updates at and you can watch the livestream of General Conference and find additional information at