Message from Bishop Wallace-Padgett: Council of Bishops Meeting


Dear Friends,

Greetings from Chicago where I am meeting with my colleague United Methodist bishops from around the globe. We have come together from all corners of Africa, the Philippines, Europe and the United States.

The task before the Council of Bishops during this meeting is a significant one that will impact the 2019 Special Session of General Conference. This week we will receive and act upon the report of the Commission on a Way Forward, a group of 32 persons and three moderators who have met eight times in the past 15 months to discern a way forward in the United Methodist Church’s conflict about understandings of human sexuality and unity.

Many of you have asked me how I feel as I go into this Council of Bishops meeting. This is a great question, especially in a time of high anxiety in the church. Indeed, my colleagues and I feel the weight of the importance of this particular Council of Bishops meeting. In addition to “feeling the weight,”  I have several other responses to the question about how I feel.

  1. I am grateful for the privilege of serving on the Commission on a Way Forward. This demanding, yet fruitful experience has enriched my understanding and appreciation of the wide diversity of perspectives, strength and backgrounds of United Methodists around the world.
  2. I am hopeful that the United Methodist Church will discern a way forward that honors God and offers a positive witness to people within and outside the United Methodist Church. Many persons have been praying during the past year and a half that God’s Holy Spirit will lead the Commission on a Way Forward and Council of Bishops in the process of developing a recommendation for the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference.
  3. I am at peace that as a church we will find a constructive way forward for our denomination. What the Council of Bishops recommends is undoubtedly important as it represents months of discernment and collaboration between the Commission on a Way Forward and the Council of Bishops. Then the recommendation will go to the February 23-26, 2019 Special Session of General Conference  where the decision will be made by clergy and lay delegates about the United Methodist Church’s understanding of doctrine, social principles and the best way for us to move forward together as a denomination.

We entered deliberations as a Council of Bishops today. I will share the outcome of our work when it is ready to be made public. In the meantime, I am grateful, hopeful and at peace about the future of our church.

Thank you for your continued prayers. As always it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.

Debra Wallace-Padgett
Resident Bishop
North Alabama Conference

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