On May 7 and 8, 2024, the General Board gathered at The Wesleyan Church Headquarters for its 151st session. Several shaping discussions occurred during the meeting addressing how The Wesleyan Church (TWC) can fit into a movement of God, being fully available for what God wants to create through us.

General Board members Emily Last and Reverend Dr. Steven Dunmire, Northeastern Area lay and clergy representatives, offered devotions and prayer to begin each day’s business sessions.

General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt’s report included appreciation for TWC’s Flama professors and educational institution presidents, celebrating the kingdom impact both are having in educating and equipping emerging leaders. Significant time was dedicated to discussing TWC’s mission and movement potential.

Dr. Schmidt concluded his report addressing lessons learned from Matthew 25:14-30 on stewarding the mission. He emphasized that stewardship is not about those who have the most, but those who make the most of what they have, including minister and laity partnerships.

A Gender Identity Position Paper Study Committee update was provided by Dr. Jonathan Morgan who shared committee goals and progress made toward submitting their recommendations at the November 2024 General Board meeting. When completed, the paper will replace “A Wesleyan View of Gender Identity and Expression.”

Before the May General Board meeting, General Board members were asked to read each TWC position paper and submit their opinion on whether the paper should remain as is or be revised, rewritten or removed. Following review of the accumulated responses, the General Board approved the revision or rewrite of “A Wesleyan View of Racial Reconciliation” and “A Wesleyan View of Immigration.” Editorial changes will be made to the remaining North American General Conference position papers before the 15th General Conference in May 2026. “The Wesleyan Church and Homosexuality” position paper was updated in November 2023.

Education and Clergy Development Executive Director Johanna Rugh provided an update on progress being made by the General Board Standards of The Wesleyan Church Educational Institutions Task Force. The task force plans to submit its report at the November 2024 General Board meeting.

General Board actions included:

Approving a financial monitoring committee comprised of General Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer Kevin Batman, General Board member Meredith Griffin and Local Board of Administration Treasurer Charles Tegen. The committee is tasked to help mitigate risk to The Wesleyan Church by regularly assessing, at least annually, the financial health of each educational institution and provide appropriate feedback/recommendations to the Wesleyan Education Council, Education and Clergy Development executive director, General Superintendent, and Executive and General boards.

Approving updates to the “General Board Policy” sections related to the general officers and their divisions.

Approving the addition of the following non-retaliation statement to the “General Board Policy” on Church Discipline:

  • Retaliation will not be tolerated by The Wesleyan Church and is grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including, permanent removal of credentials or membership.
  • Retaliation means materially adverse action, intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination toward any individual because that individual made a report or formal accusation, participated in a process outlined by this policy, or chose not to participate in a process for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege of “General Board Policy.” Retaliation may be committed by the Accused, the Accuser, or any other individual or group of individuals. Retaliation does not include vague criticisms, stray remarks and petty slights that do not rise to the level of adverse action, intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination; a good faith pursuit of civil, criminal, or other legal action, even in response to an initial report under this Policy. Acts of alleged retaliation should be reported immediately to the official having jurisdiction over the accused and will be promptly investigated.

Approving a revision of the “General Board Policy” on Ministerial Restoration to be presented to the General Board when complete.

Reverend Jerry Lumston was elected to serve as General Board vice-chair for the remainder of the 2022-2026 quadrennium, replacing Reverend Matt LeRoy who completed a two-year term as vice-chair. Rev. LeRoy will remain a member of the General and Executive boards.

Kevin Batman was elected to serve another four-year term as general treasurer/chief financial officer. His term will expire in May 2028.

Interspersed throughout the meeting, each general officer shared what their division was doing now to contribute to a Wesleyan Church movement leading to and beyond 2026.

“Our General Board meetings always include various shaping, learning and deciding agenda items,” said Dr. Schmidt. “This meeting was heavily weighted on shaping as the board members in table groups discussed (shaped) topics related to TWC movement. The conversations were robust, respectful and included lay, clergy, women, men, educational institution and executive cabinet representation. Their input is invaluable as we prepare for the next General Conference and our future beyond.”

Executive Director Dennis Jackson announced his decision to resign at the end of this quadrennium. He and General Superintendent Wayne Schmidt will conclude their service as general officers at the rise of the 15th General Conference, May 17-20, 2026.

The next General Board meeting is scheduled for November 19 and 20, 2024, at The Wesleyan Church Headquarters.

Janelle Vernon is the executive director of Communication and Administration for The Wesleyan Church.