February 27, 2019
Dearly beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The General Conference has completed its work and by a majority vote, passed the traditional plan with some parts that were ruled unconstitutional. The delegates voted to refer it to the Judicial Council for review at their next meeting but as of now our existing Discipline language is maintained.
Now, some are pleased with the outcome of the special session and some are deeply hurt and disappointed. My heart weeps for the brokenness experienced within the body of Christ. We could not find a way forward of being church that would allow for the contextual differentiation that we were all hoping for and a way to keep as much unity as possible. Now, we need to take the time to process what has happened and the implications of the decisions that are critical for how we move forward.
Friends, please know, that any procedural changes that will have some effect will not take place until January 1, 2020. So, we have time. So, let us breathe.
What I love about our beloved United Methodist Church is our beautiful diversity and our global connection and witness. And as a global church, what is challenging is that we have differing views of human sexuality and understandings of our LGBTQi brothers and sisters.
But despite our differences, as a United Methodist Church we do believe that all persons are of sacred worth. Our doors are open to persons of all ages, races, nations, ethnicities, gender and sexual orientation. We are one church, one family, one in the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
So, here’s what I am hopeful for, what I am asking of all clergy and lay:
As your Bishop, by the grace of God, I will lead, shepherd and guide us through these challenging times and I humbly ask that you commit with me to trust where the Spirit of God will take us. Yes, us. Progressive, centrist, traditionalist, gay, straight, all of God’s beloved. And as we go, together, to do Kingdom work, to do kindom work, the making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, God will be with us.
So, here is my prayer, and I invite you to pray with me. Lord, make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory and we are all seated in the heavenly kingdom! So be it.
Executive Secretary to the Bishop
The East Ohio Conference Office:
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near Akron-Canton Airport.
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