Council of Bishops Names 32 Commission Members

October 24, 2016

Washington, D.C.— The United Methodist Council of Bishops has announced the membership of the Commission on a Way Forward.

"After three months of diligent and prayerful discernment, we have selected eight bishops, 11 laity, 12 elders and one deacon to serve on the Commission," said Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the Council of Bishops. "This group is representative of our theological diversity."
Ough said the makeup of the 32-member commission is roughly comparable to U.S. and Central Conference membership.

All of the members of the Commission have already indicated their willingness and availability to serve. The team of moderators—Bishop Ken Carter, Bishop Sandra Steiner-Ball and Bishop David Yemba—will soon convene the Commission to begin to organize their work and finalize their meeting schedule.

The Commission's mission is to  "bring together persons deeply committed to the future(s) of The United Methodist Church, with an openness to developing new relationships with each other and exploring the potential future(s) of our denomination in light of General Conference and subsequent annual, jurisdictional and central conference actions."

The 2016 General Conference gave a specific mandate to the Council of Bishops to lead The United Methodist Church in discerning and proposing a way forward through the present impasse related to human sexuality and the consequent questions about unity and covenant.

The Commission is a group appointed by the Council of Bishops to assist the Council in fulfilling this mandate. As such, the Council has appointed bishops from across the global connection to serve on the Commission alongside laity and clergy. While clergy and laity will vote at a General Conference on these matters, the bishops have the responsibility to lead the church. Thus, the Commission is designed to inform the Council’s leadership of the General Conference. After hearing concerns that the proposed composition did not include enough laity, three additional laypersons were added from the original pool of more than 300 nominees.

At their fall meeting (October 30 – November 2), the Council will make a decision about a called General Conference and will review a plan to conduct additional and complementary work in annual conferences designed to broaden the conversation with hundreds of lay and clergy members. The members of the Commission are listed below.

Jorge Acevedo
USA, Florida, elder, male
Brian Adkins
USA, California, elder, male
Jacques Umembudi Akasa
Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, laity, male
Tom Berlin
USA, Virginia, elder, male
Matt Berryman
USA, Illinois, laity, male
Helen Cunanan
Philippines, elder, female
David Field
Europe, Switzerland, laity, male
Ciriaco Francisco
Philippines, bishop, male
Grant Hagiya
USA, California, bishop, male
Aka Dago-Akribi Hortense
Africa, Côte d’Ivoire, laity, female
Scott Johnson
USA, New York, laity, male
Jessica Lagrone
USA, Kentucky, elder, female 
Thomas Lambrecht
USA, Texas, elder, male
Myungae Kim Lee
USA, New York, laity, female
Julie Hager Love
USA, Kentucky, deacon, female
Mazvita Machinga
Africa, Zimbabwe, laity, female
Patricia Miller
USA, Indiana, laity, female
Mande Guy Muyombo
Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, elder, male
Eben Nhiwatiwa
Africa, Zimbabwe, bishop, male
Dave Nuckols
USA, Minnesota, laity, male
Casey Langley Orr
USA, Texas, elder, female 
Gregory Palmer
USA, Ohio, bishop, male
Donna Pritchard
USA, Oregon, elder, female
Tom Salsgiver
USA, Pennsylvania, elder, male 
Robert Schnase
USA, Texas, bishop, male
Jasmine Rose Smothers
USA, Georgia, elder, female
Leah Taylor
USA, Texas, laity, female
Debra Wallace-Padgett
USA, Alabama, bishop, female
Rosemarie Wenner
Europe, Germany, bishop, female
Alice Williams
USA, Florida, laity, female
John Wesley Yohanna
Africa, Nigeria, bishop, male
Alfiado S. Zunguza
Africa, Mozambique, elder, male

Sandra Steiner Ball
USA, West Virginia, bishop, female
Kenneth Carter
USA, Florida, bishop, male
David Yemba
Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, bishop, male

In response to the announcement of the commission members, Bishop Wallace-Padgett noted, "I am humbled to be invited to serve on the Commission. My prayer is that as a Commission we will be able to discern a way forward that is helpful to the church. Please remember all of us on the Commission in your prayers."

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