The Commission on A Way Forward was proposed by the Council of Bishops and approved by the 2016 General Conference to do a complete examination and possible revision of every paragraph of the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and explore options that help to maintain and strengthen the unity of the church. Bishop Hope Morgan Ward presented a summary report and video featuring commission members to the Annual Conference on Saturday.
This Commission is charged to design a way for the church that maximizes the presence of a United Methodist witness in as many places in the world as possible, allows for as much contextual differentiation as possible, and balances an approach to different theological understandings of human sexuality with a desire for as much unity as possible.
As the commission has gathered, they have experienced prayer, listened to one another, established new friendships, built trust and respect for one another, and formed an open and honest community within their diversity. They share a “Good Spirit” with people who are in love with Christ and the church and report a season that is “hope-filled” as people of God within the UMC.
In 1998, Bill Braswell created the opportunity for the NC Conference lay and clergy to gather and to be in dialogue. For 19 years, many have gathered for the Unity Dialogue. Since the General Conference, 700 laity and clergy met in 50 Circles of Abundant Grace throughout the NCC to engage in additional open and honest conversations.