Bishop Ward explains a tradition, begun in 1812, of the bishops sending a letter to all churches at the conclusion of General Conference.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
I thank you for your prayers which continued as General Conference unfolded in Portland, Oregon. Attached is a letter from the Council of Bishops. This letter follows in the tradition of 204 years of United Methodist people. Bishop Francis Asbury and Bishop William McKendree and the secretary of the 1812 General Conference sent a letter to all of the churches, and following every General Conference across this expanse of time, the bishops of our church have spoken to the people of The United Methodist Church through an episcopal letter.
Please take time to read this letter and pray over it. It clarifies the great celebrations that took place at the General Conference as well as the times of struggle and it delineates for us new dreams and visions for our church.
For those of us here in the North Carolina Annual Conference, we know in our hearts the deep desire for unity; we have expressed that in many many ways, including the Plea for Unity of the Annual Conference just a couple of years ago. It is in that spirit that we continue to serve Christ, to witness to the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives as we move forward day by day, trusting God who has called us through baptism to share in the ministry of Jesus Christ in all the world.
Thank you for who you are. Blessed be the ties that unite us in ministry for and with Jesus Christ.