Dec. 16, 2004
Tenn. (UMNS) — The first copies of the English-language United
Methodist 2004 Book of Discipline and the 2004 Book of Resolutions are
on bookshelves in Cokesbury stores now — just in time for Christmas
books are revised every four years by the denomination’s top
legislative assembly, the General Conference, which met last spring. The
Book of Discipline contains the church’s law, Constitution and other
polity. The Book of Resolutions collects all of the denomination’s
current statements on social issues. Both books also include the
church’s Social Principles.
United Methodist Publishing House edits and prints the revised books
after each General Conference. The assembly is the only body that speaks
officially for the denomination.
2004 texts went to the printer in September, and printed copies began
arriving at the end of November, said Harriett Olson, senior vice
president of publishing, United Methodist Publishing House.
end of November/beginning of December ship dates are slightly earlier
than earlier quadrennia, and the new software – as well as the synergy
of the team working on the project under the leadership of Marvin
Cropsey – contributed to our ability to achieve this,” she said.
completed volumes represent several months of hard work by the
Publishing House, beginning shortly after General Conference ended in
work on the Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions is a big project
for the United Methodist Publishing House every four years,” Olson
said. “Actually, it’s several big projects.”
Publishing House oversaw the production and design of a new petition
management system used by the 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh.
“Like any new system that is used for the first time, we now have a
better idea of how the system could be revised to offer even better
support to the legislative process.”
Approved actions of the General Conference are incorporated into the two books.
the case of the Book of Discipline, this may involve reordering
sections of the work, tracing changes throughout the text (as when an
organization’s name is changed), or seeing that the paragraph in
question has the exact amendments that were adopted by the conference,”
she said. “Sometimes this involves attention to the record of what the
(legislative) committee has done, what developed during the floor debate
and any reconsideration that may have taken place.”
of the Committee on Correlation review, approve or amend each change
for the Book of Discipline. If uncertain about how the change should
read, the members may contact the legislative committee chairperson or
secretary. Complicated matters go to the whole Committee on Correlation
for resolution. The committee also is responsible for omitting any
passages of the book that the church’s supreme court, or Judicial
Council, found unconstitutional during the four years between General
Olson said the work on both books is shared with the other general agencies for their review.
After the final text is formatted and sent to the printer, work begins on translating both books into Spanish and Korean.
“This quadrennium, we will have CD-ROM, e-book and online versions available in January,” she said.
conferences – regional units of the church in Africa, Asia and Europe –
are authorized to translate and adopt changes to parts of the
Discipline that facilitate the ministry in their areas, Olson added. “We
try to support the work of these conferences by responding to requests
for various ways to get access to the Discipline text.”
Book of Discipline has a diverse customer base in the denomination,
including district superintendents, pastors, church libraries,
conference leaders, leaders of staff parish committees and
administrative councils, general agency staff and seminarians.
each General Conference, the Publishing House also revises another
local church resource, Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation, Olson
said. These booklets are prepared for leaders in congregations and may
be purchased as a set for reference in the church library or resource
center, in multiple copies for members of a committee or council, or
individually, to help a new chairperson get acquainted with his or her
Discipline and Resolutions are available as a two-pack for a discounted
price ($29) and with the United Methodist Directory as a three-pack
For more information, visit www.cokesbury.com.
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.