Dear United Methodist friends,
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
The North Carolina Conference has embodied for the entire connection of United Methodist people the will and the capacity to navigate difficult and contentious issues. The overwhelming affirmation of the Plea for Unity at the 2014 Annual Conference is a highpoint in our life together, demonstrating our devotion to Jesus Christ, the Humble Servant and the Risen One, who draws us into profound community with one another.
The election in the Western Jurisdiction of a bishop who is openly gay places us in an unprecedented space. The South Central Jurisdiction has requested a Judicial Council ruling on the election. This process will unfold over the next several months. The Council of Bishops continues the process of creating a commission, “An Offering For A Way Forward,” approved by the May, 2016, General Conference.
I hope that we all will be prayerfully patient as these processes unfold. Two letters have been released that will be helpful to you. The first was released by the Southeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops on July 12, the day before Jurisdictional Conference convened. The second was released by Bishop Ough, the President of the Council of Bishops, on July 15, after the elections of bishops was completed.
I offer you my own commitment to join with other bishops in our ministry of shepherding all persons committed to our care, leading the church in mission, ordering the life of the church including administrative processes for handling complaints, and seeking unity in Christ.
Thank you for your prayers, partnership and witness in these days,
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward