Bishop Ward gives a report from the meeting of the Council of Bishops last week, where they discussed a proposal for the February 2019 General Conference.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
Last week, the Council of Bishops met in Chicago. The primary agenda item was the receiving and processing of the report from The Commission on the Way Forward. We yearn to be faithful to the task entrusted to us by the 2016 General Conference. We were asked to convene a Commission on the Way Forward that would deal with our shared ministry with LGBTQI persons in our families, in our communities, and in our churches. It was our deepest hope to be faithful to the processing of the report and the proposing to the General Conference in a way that would help the General Conference do its work in February 2019.
We decided three things which have been released to the church. First, we would make available to the entire church all the material that was gathered and developed by the Commission on the Way Forward. You can read about the various plans that were submitted.
Secondly, we decided to propose to the General Conference, as the starting motion of their deliberation, that the United Methodist Church embrace the One Church plan. We offer this proposal out of our deep deep sense of our life together as a multi-cultural and global people, seeking to live in as much unity as humanly possible through the help of the Holy Spirit, reaching as many people as possible in every place.Third, we will make available to the church the history of all that has unfolded since General Conference 2016.
What’s next for us here in the North Carolina Annual Conference? At Annual Conference in June, we will share in plenary the work of the Commission on the Way Forward, give greater clarity to the decision made by the bishops and explain the proposal that will be before the General Conference in February 2019. We will also have gatherings in the districts of clergy and laity, and there will be a gathering of all clergy in September.
It’s our deepest desire to share with you information so that you may pray, listen, and speak to one another in wisdom.
May Christ’s spirit continue to be with us as we move forward into the future that God is giving to The United Methodist Church and to the North Carolina Annual Conference.