Publisher of The United Methodist Church and the Committee on Correlation and Editorial Revision shall be charged with edit- ing the Book of Discipline. Free online editions of both the Book of Discipline and the Book of Resolutions are available from Cokesbury. Portions of each are also available on gaalmapat.site Book of Discipline & Book of Resolutions of the United Methodist Church. Book of Discipline Errata. View the latest updates and corrections 20 the
- Setting the stage
- The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church
- Navigation menu
- 2016 (in)action
- The sad tale of the free Book of Discipline
- Search form
- Northwest Plains - Main Menu
For six years, one of my projects in The United Methodist Church has been to free our doctrine, polity, and social statements from their paywalls. Recently, the project took two steps forward…and one step back.
A bit under six years ago, I helped edit legislation to the General Conference which required the United Methodist Publishing House to offer digital versions of the Book of Discipline online for free.
I believe our polity, beliefs, and our statements do more good when more people can read and distribute them.
Inthe principal author of the legislation let me submit my own version instead. After a lot of discernment, I thought I happened on the perfect balance. The secretary of the General Conference shall arrange for electronic access to all petitions, including General Conference action and the resulting impact on The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, throughout the General Conference session.
Implementation shall be according to guidelines established by the Committee on Plan of Organization and Rules of Order. At the beginning of the third year of each quadrennium, the secretary shall arrange to make The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church available, free of charge in a keyword-searchable full-text digital format, on the official website of The United Methodist Church.
Then in the two years where free access to doctrine most mattered the time when changing it would be proposed and debatedit would be freely available to everyone.
Setting the stage
Pretty decent, eh? Well, it was voted down at GC You can read the floor conversation herestarting on page with the free Book of Discipline being referred meaning defeated and the free Book of Resolutions referred as well. As usual with debates on the floor of General Conference, some facts get lost in the conversation. The entire conversation of both free editions was about the cost, but then the final comment by the incoming Publisher of both books was this:.
The Book of Discipline already exists online in the first year, and the Book of Resolutions will be available online when published in We are arguing about whether to make it free.
Sometime inCokesbury began offering a free version of The Book of Discipline online at this page. It is in the ISSUU file format where web browsers can flip pages and zoom in, but cannot select text or copy it it treats it like a picture, not text.
The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church
So for at least 48 hours, the download link was available so people could download the PDF version which was searchable and full-text. The work of thousands of common people, crafted not by experts but spur-of-the-moment edits and majority vote, has always been made into a product, placing the work of the people behind a paywall.
Missions and ministry is digital now. When distant African towns get tablets instead of books, our doctrine must be digital and freely accessible. When digital text becomes searchable and exportable, it becomes translatable by free online tools, allowing local mission outreach and creative compilations of our work.
Freeing our doctrine, polity, confessional statements, resolutions, and our common work from the paywall will go a long way to redeeming that backwards tradition. We need to do a better job of putting the Discipline in the hands of people and in the major language groups of the UMC.
They were extremely outdated. Those two in particular should be free to any church member. But yeah, this should be available free and searchable. Digital formats were emphasized as a part of how it would come to be published. NOT cool! I was excited to have my Confirmation students be able to look up a few different things on -line, especially the Social Principles, since being available digitally would be so much easier for them.
This is frustrating to me. It is like a citizen of the US being unable to freely get to the constitution or latest executive orders or legislative bills passed.
This is one document that every single person who calls themselves United Methodist needs to be able to access without cost. Jeremy, thanks for this. I have always been perplexed why the Discipline was not free to the churches who enable and allow the Publishing House to exist.
It would seem essential that every United Methodist church should have access to the official guiding document for the denomination. I would think that allowing every United Methodist congregation 1 copy would be a starting point for this. I agree with you, given that electronic media has become as pervasive as it is. The idea of a freely accessed document is not far fetched. I am curious… if the current ISSUU version were in searchable text format, would that be satisfactory to you?
Also, I would invite you to go to the link below. It is the Google Books preview of the BOD and it has most of the pages some are omitted, as is the case with most books on Google Books. You can search keywords on the left side and it will list the applicable pages and link you to the corresponding page s if they are available.
While imperfect, I hope this is helpful to you. Both the ISSUU and the GBooks versions treat the pages like an image rather than full-text, so that limits their usefulness as I indicated above in the penultimate section. Beginning inI have long advocated for the Discipline, the Book of Worship and the Judicial Council decisions to be freely and readily available for all.
The sad tale of the free Book of Discipline
I do think that the idea pay for it shelf life then free is very logical. Great post. I would go one step further and say the BoD needs to be online, free and written in a way that is more accessible to most readers.
The current writing and organization leaves a lot to be desired. As others have noted, the problem goes beyond the BOD. It turns out that UMPH owns the copyright. We asked if we could put the GC-approved text only online in a free, public form and were turned down.
Thus, our official denomination theology of mission is essentially unavailable unless you happen to live near a theological library because UMPH is worried about losing out on revenue on a book they are no longer actively publishing. Perhaps we need to consider who should own the BoD. I think it should be the property of General Conference.
If that were the case, the General Administration Fund would pay the cost of putting it on line for free. While UMPH provides the staff for processing legislation, the costs are paid out of the General Administration Fund which comes from general church apportionments.
The conference would have the right to give UMPH the license to publish printed copies. In a rare moment, I wholly agree with you Jeremy!
Not only should the BoD be a fully searchable and FREE pdf, it should be released in all major digital formats for digital readers. I also advocate it become a free app that anyone can download that would make searching it, reading it, and sharing it much easier.
First thing Jeremy has posted that I fully agree with. I own a print copy, of course, but made great use of the PDF version because it was available digitally and could be easily distributed to officers.
Northwest Plains - Main Menu
This, though, is more than frustrating. We need digital access!!! I have some information for you. As you note, a free version of The Book of Discipline is available at Cokesbury. Due to several technical errors by the software vendor, the free online version was temporally available for downloads and the search functionality was turned off. Corrections are now under way, and searchability is expected to be restored within the next two weeks.
Ready access to a current version of the Book of Discipline has been a chronic problem for my 30 years of membership. At a minimum, the General Conference or each Annual Conference should resolve to send out a free printed copy of each new edition to every congregation. If necessary, reallocate resources spent on other publications to accomplish this obviously essential task. Or do clergypeople own the books which mean they still might be inaccessible to the lay members?
I find the online version limited and hard to negotiate. It is NOT user-friendly. And I have an IT degree. I am not sure what year of Book of Discipline my church has since I have not needed to read it lately. We have to PAY to know our rules? There are times I want to refer to the Book of Discipline but do I have to put it in our church budget to buy it every 4 years? It would be way more useful i. Totally agree! Hi, do you know where I can get a copy of the original book of discipline I think?
Thanks so much. As a rather new Methodist this really concerns me and would have severely made me question joining the church. If, fundamentally, your core beliefs and practices are only available for a price then how are we different than Scientology or Mormonism?
We recognize that it is immoral for the secular authorities to not provide public access to the law freely and openly. Are we truly less ethical than our government? Spotted that. You can download it if your browser is capable. Your email address will not be published. Leave this field empty. Jeremy Smith is a United Methodist clergyperson who blogs about faith, young clergy issues, technology, internet theory, and geeky topics. Read More….
Blog About. Hacks Geek Gospel United Methodism. Setting the stage A bit under six years ago, I helped edit legislation to the General Conference which required the United Methodist Publishing House to offer digital versions of the Book of Discipline online for free.