As many of you know, I am one of the members of the Commission on a Way Forward. Today’s blog is devoted to sharing some of my overall impressions of our initial meeting, which took place January 23-26 (www.umc.org/news-and-media/commission-on-a-way-forward-holds-organizational-meeting).
Impression 1: This task is both important and exhausting! It is important because it provides a venue for a group of United Methodist leaders representing diverse ideologies, theologies and backgrounds to work together in community to seek a way forward for our beloved UMC. It is exhausting because respectful, in depth conversation about deeply held convictions requires lots of effort and energy.
Impression 2: I am encouraged by the reality that the work of the Commission is undergirded by prayer. United Methodists from across the globe are participating in “Praying Our Way Forward,” the prayer initiative that parallels efforts of the Commission on a Way Forward.
Impression 3: The church’s mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world is being fulfilled in many places around the world. Each participant on the Commission has stories of how God is transforming their lives and communities. God is at work through the people called United Methodist!
Impression 4: Each member of the Commission has a deep love for Christ and humanity . . . a desire to be a positive witness of God’s love and grace for all people in what we say and do . . . and a yearning to discern a positive way forward for the church.
I will update you periodically on the work of the Commission. I ask that you continue to pray for the Commission throughout 2017 and 2018 as we address difficult questions and significant differences. Thank you for your prayers for our church as we seek a way forward that honors the One we follow and serve – Jesus Christ.
As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
North Alabama Conference