faith in action

Next Steps For The Revised Social Principles Adopted at the General Conference, Charlotte

The postponed 2020 General Conference held in Charlotte, NC was a momentous time for The United Methodist Church and the approval of the Revised Social Principles.

(L-R) Rev. Ande Emmanuel, John Hill, Dr. Randall Miller, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Moore, and Bishop Sally Dyck host press briefing at General Conference, Charlotte after historic Revised Social Principles adoption.

Leading up to General Conference, delegates reviewed the legislation submitted by Church and Society, which included the Revised Social Principles legislation.

After Church and Society Committee sessions at General Conference, the legislation was overwhelmingly adopted by the General Conference. All sections of the Revised Social Principles passed on consent calendar, except for the Social Community, which had one amendment to the sub-paragraph on “marriage” on the plenary floor.

Below are the results of the adopted Revised Social Principles - to view the legislation language click here.

Referring to the paragraphs found in the Book of Discipline, the results of the legislation can be summarized as the following:

- Replace current Preface and Preamble with Revised Preface and Preamble.

- Replace ¶160 with Community of All Creation as submitted.

- Replace ¶161 and ¶162 with RSP Social Community with one amendment to the sub-paragraph on Marriage.

Amended 161.D “Marriage,” paragraph to read:
“Within the church, we affirm marriage as a sacred lifelong covenant that brings two people of faith, an adult man and woman of consenting age, or two adult persons of consenting age into union with one another.”

- Replace ¶163 with RSP Economic Community as submitted.

- Replace ¶164 and ¶165 with RSP Political Community as submitted.

When does the adopted legislation go into effect

Legislation adopted by the General Conference does not go into effect until the beginning of the following year. So, for the 2020 postponed General Conference, all legislation including the adopted Revised Social Principles are in effect as of January 1, 2025.

The Central Conferences adopt legislation a little later. According to the Book of Discipline, in any central conference “using a language other than English, legislation passed by a General Conference shall not take effect until 18 months after the close of that General Conference.”

In English-speaking central conferences, “legislation does not take effect until the central conference convenes and publishes their decisions on rejecting, adopting, or amending any General Conference actions they are allowed to adapt.”

Revising all references to the Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions will be conducted by editors from Cokesbury, The United Methodist Publishing House, during the remainder of this year, with an effective publishing date set for the beginning of 2025. Once that work is completed, the Revised Social Principles will be published as the official United Methodist Social Principles.

Church and Society next steps for Revised Social Principles

While the official document will not be published until 2025, Church and Society plans to produce Revised Social Principles support materials during the gap to help teach, educate and advocate for our newly adopted Social Principles.

Stay tuned as Church and Society will provide an update on the progress of the materials by the end of July, 2024.