What if the General Conference addressed matters of doctrine, mission, and values and gave freedom (such as Central Conferences already have today) in structure and regulations, including clergy standards? Thus, General Conference becomes a time for celebration, worship, and engagement with those elements of United Methodist identity that unite across all boundaries and differences.
We might use the same words in our talk about doctrine, if we consider the Articles of Religion, for example, as expressing “our doctrine.” There are many who still think in terms of the pre-1988 Disciplinary statement on doctrine. Up until 1988 the BOD supported normative doctrinal pluralism; the 1988 BOD turned away from that position.
If we actually had the level of unity he imagines, then it might be possible to “move from structures of control to a culture of trust and grace.” As we stand now, we don’t have that. From what I see, the UMC has never had that level of unity. I pray that in our ecclesial re-alignment we find ways to have that kind of unity in more than just our denominational name.