Following on the success of the business model of the last meeting, the 44th General Council will use a similar model but will be an entirely virtual event taking place over six months from February through July 2022 with the following key concepts:
- Pre-GC conversations: Conversations are encouraged across the church featuring topics that may be of interest to the whole. These conversations may lead to proposals to regional councils, or they may serve as an important end in themselves as conversations the church wishes to hold. Conversations that end in proposals to regional councils are encouraged to be submitted to the regions in 2020 so listening/learning can begin on proposals to GC44 early in 2021.
- Proposal format: There is a template for proposals to encourage naming an issue rather than a specific outcome. “Conversation proposals” are also encouraged—that is, a proposal may also request a conversation on a particular issue as an end in itself.
- Agenda limited to priorities set by GC44 Commissioners: Commissioners will review proposals and name the issues in which they have the highest level of interest. Proposals on these issues will serve as the priority agenda for the GC meeting. Other proposals will be referred to GCE or dealt with in other ways, as decided by Commissioners.
- Three-phase decision-making: Commissioners will engage in a three-phase process for all General Council business:
- Learning and receiving information: presentation of the proposal, questions, and answers to clarify issues and implications
- Discussion and deliberation: exchange of ideas, thoughts, arguments, pros, and cons; emergence of suggestions for refinement of proposal, affirmations, naming of principles/parameters
- Discernment and decision: final debate and refinements of proposal in plenary; working towards consensus, voting