The Judicial Council, the top court of The United Methodist Church, has reviewed and ruled on the constitutionality of the legislation passed at the 2019 Special Session of General Conference. The letter from the Council of Bishops, found at the end of this message, provides a helpful explanation of the Judicial Council rulings. The parts of the legislation that were determined to be constitutional will take effect on January 1, 2020 (except in Central Conferences). Until then, our current 2016 Book of Discipline remains in effect.
The Judicial Council has done the work it was tasked to do. I encourage us to remain faithful to the task that is always at hand for each member, pastor and congregation of the Church. And that is to stay focused on the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
I encourage us to be mindful that the decisions and actions of the General Conference have caused great harm to many. Let us be committed to offering Christ’s hospitality to all persons and to treating each other as God’s beloved. Let us show love, compassion and support to our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer siblings in Christ (and to their families and allies) who are deeply hurting and who continue to be marginalized in our beloved United Methodist Church.
Let us continue to love the Lord, our God, with all our heart, our soul, our mind and our strength and to love all our neighbors as ourselves. Let us remain steadfast in prayer and scripture, growing in our personal walk with Jesus Christ and invite others to walk with us. Let the peace, welcome and joy of Christ be so evident in our words and actions so that others will experience the love of Jesus through our witness.
In these times of uncertainty, we can be certain of one thing: “Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:9) God who raised Jesus from the dead will also give new life and give us a future with hope.
As we live into this season of Eastertide, we are reminded that we serve a Risen Lord and Savior who is always at work in our lives and in the world dispensing love where there is hate, light where there is darkness, and hope where there is despair. As a people of faith, we believe that the Resurrection of Christ is a continuing event for today, tomorrow and forever. It is victory over death! It is the promise of new life! It is the certainty of our hope! It is the power of our love! And it is our commitment to embody and share the radical love and grace of Jesus Christ with all of God’s beloved children.
Therefore, I call on all East Ohio pastors, congregations and faith communities to keep the main thing the main thing:
And be committed to holding on to each other by praying for one another, staying in conversation with each other and making room for one another. And while holding on to each other, remember John Wesley’s three simple rules: Do good. Do no harm. Stay in love with God.
Executive Secretary to the Bishop
The East Ohio Conference Office:
located in North Canton, OH,
near Akron-Canton Airport.
8800 Cleveland Ave. NW
North Canton, OH 44720
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
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