by Rev. Leigh Goodrich
A critical amendment to The United Methodist Constitution will be voted on by all annual conferences in the United States and Central Conferences. It is called Paragraph 4, Article 4, and we would like to share some of the numbers behind it…
1 – the number of yes votes we are asking you to cast for Paragraph 4
2 – the two parts of the Church referred to in the amendment: the structure of The United Methodist Church, protecting persons with disabilities from exclusion; and membership in the church, protecting those with disabilities, as well as married, single, young, old, male and female.
3 – the levels of the church that this amendment ensures full and equal participation: life, worship, and governance.
4- the number of categories identified for protection by Paragraph 4: ability, gender, age, marital status.
5- the number of times the phrase “marital status” is used in the Book of Discipline and the Book of Resolutions advocating for protections from violence for people regardless of whether they are married or single.
6- the number of quadrennia the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW) petitioned the General Conference to add “gender” to the list of protected categories in Paragraph 4 of The United Methodist Constitution.
7- the types of people protected by the amendment: male, female, young, old, married, single, and persons with disabilities
144- the number of times the Book of Discipline and the Book of Resolutions use the word disabilities to call for protections for people who are differently abled
200- the number of times the word “gender” appears in the 2016 Book of Discipline (70) and Book of Resolutions (130) referring exclusively to men and women
509- the number of General Conference votes in favor of Paragraph 4, Article 4
Over 80,000- the number of votes across The United Methodist Connection needed to ratify a change to The United Methodist Constitution and adopt Paragraph 4 (2/3rds of all United Methodists voting at their annual conference)
Priceless- the importance of Paragraph 4, Article 4 in guaranteeing women, men, young, old, single, married and persons with disabilities the benefit of church membership