The new United Methodist 2004 Book of Discipline and the 2004 Book of Resolutions just came out, and as United Methodist News Service points out, they're just in time for Christmas.
These two books are the denomination's rulebook, and they're revised every four years. The 2000 Book of Discipline provided the denominational foundation for the recent Beth Shroud trial, a lesbian pastor who was found guilty of "being a self-avowed practicing homosexua,l" leading her to step down from ministering. The 2000 Book of Discipline explicitly forbids it.
Last spring the General Conference met and discussed the content of both books. The Book of Discipline contains the church's law, Constitution, and other polity. The Book of Resolutions has all of the Denomination's current statements on social issues. Both books also include the church's Social Principles, according to UMNS.
The 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, and after several months of hard work by the Publishing House, finally the copies started arriving in November. Actually, its several big projects.
The Book of Discipline holds a wealth of membership information and are meant to help the many leaders of congregations with information on "district superintendents, pastors, church libraries, conference leaders, leaders of staff parish committees and administrative councils, general agency staff and seminarians."