Following Bishop Ward’s video and presentation of the General Conference Commission on A Way Forward, founded to acknowledge the “climate of skepticism and distrust,” around human sexuality and unity, Conflict Transformation Ministries Director, the Rev. Molly Shivers, reported that 50 Circles of Abundant Grace convened through January of 2017 to participate in the NC Conference conversations.
Shivers reported that the circles engaged in the work against the background of “possibility of a denominational split.” The purpose of the circles were “to teach and embody honest, respectful conversation in the local church setting about an important issue.”
Small groups that totaled 700 participants gathered to focus on two questions: “What would you like to say and hear in the UMC concerning human sexuality?” and “How do you think the UMC can move forward in its witness on human sexuality?” As circle participants reflected on the nature and role of Scripture, the ongoing role of Christ’s teaching and the power of the Holy Spirit the question of how and where we could be changed. How and where may we be changed by ongoing revelation?