The Way Forward
A Note from our Lead Pastor on the Upcoming Workshops on The Way Forward/2019 UMC General Conference
As I settled in this summer, I began to get questions from some of our leaders and members on my plan to prepare our church for the February 2019 Special General Conference of the United Methodist Church to address issues of human sexuality. The tension within the UMC, as well as in many other denominations, is related to conflicting opinions about the ordination of homosexual individuals and about the marriage of same-sex couples. There has been debate within our church since prior to the 1972 General Conference relating to these issues, so there is long-standing conflict. The upcoming General Conference is unique, however, because it is convening at the request of our bishops to address these issues solely. Given the context of this General Conference, I felt called to attempt to equip our membership to understand what is before us as a denomination. Therefore, I invited the Rev. Dr. Mochel Morris to conduct two sessions of the same workshop to allow for us to better understand “The Way Forward.” The purpose of these sessions is educational in nature so that we can discern alongside other United Methodists at this juncture and seek God’s Spirit as we move forward. I hope that you will consider attending one of these sessions. Information about the sessions is provided below, as well as links to understand the proposals related to the General Conference. One important point to remember is that no one is certain what will happen with this coming General Conference, and if action is taken, it will be a long process toward implementation of any changes. With all this in mind, I ask that you please join me in prayer for the UMC that we remain focused on our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
In Christ, Pastor Gina
Previous information and publications on this topic are included below.
The Council of Bishops has called a Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church to be held February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. The purpose will be to act on a report from the Council of Bishops based on the recommendations of the Commission on a Way Forward. The 32-member Commission was appointed to examine paragraphs in The Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and exploring options to strengthen the unity of the church.
Resources about this special session and work of the Commission on a Way Forward are available on the Virginia Conference website at https://www.vaumc.org/GC2019
This includes the archived livestream from the September 26 Q&A session featuring Bishop Sharma Lewis, the Rev. Tom Berlin, and Ms. Martha Stokes. The direct link is https://livestream.com/VAUMC/COWFQA
Links to the three proposed plans can be found at https://www.vaumc.org/document.doc?id=3289