Message from Bishop Wallace-Padgett: Update on Commission on a Way Forward


Dear Friends,

We completed our fourth Commission on a Way Forward meeting in Chicago this past week. Our specific recommendations for the Council of Bishops consideration for the 2019 General Conference are still being formed and thus are not yet ready for release. Though we have ground to cover before finalizing a proposal(s), I am encouraged by the progress the Commission is making. See for a summary of last week’s meeting.

I am keenly aware of the anxiety many United Methodist clergy, congregations and denominational leaders are feeling right now. I am also deeply grateful for the response of the clergy and churches in the North Alabama Conference to this season of waiting. Though some would like to see change and others desire for our current position to remain the same, we are all honoring the General Conference discernment process. Thank you for your patience and respect for our process.

Below is a general timeline for the Commission’s work.

  • A draft of the initial recommended legislation is currently being developed even as it will continue to be informed by the research and work of the Commission.
  • If you are interested in reading reports about the progress of the Commission on a Way Forward, go to the website and click “Commission on a Way Forward information” in the right column (or in the list of featured links toward the bottom of the page when viewing on your smartphone). Also, if you would like to receive an e-mail whenever any new Commission report is issued, sign up at
  • I will spend time in each District this Fall focusing on: 1) SPRC orientations, 2) conversation about our Conference vision, mission and priorities; and 3) dialogue about the work of the Commission. Dates for the District days are: August 19 – Southeast District; August 28 – Northeast District; Sept. 5 – Central District; Oct. 2 – Mountain Lakes District; Oct. 3 – Northwest District; Oct. 9 – Southwest District; Oct. 10–South Central District and Oct. 12 – Cheaha District. Contact your District Office for additional information about times and locations.
  • The Commission will present recommendations to the Council of Bishops who will submit proposed legislation by the summer of June 2018 for the February 2019 called General Conference. I fully expect that what is presented for the General Conference’s consideration will be a defining, clarifying proposal(s) with the potential to set a positive course for the future of the United Methodist Church.

During this in-between time you are invited to continue to participate in “Praying Our Way Forward.” I encourage you to join me in daily prayer for the work of the Commission . . . the February 2019 General Conference . . . and the United Methodist Church’s increased effectiveness in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

As always it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.

Debra Wallace-Padgett
Resident Bishop
North Alabama Conference

P.S. Also see for July 27, 2017, status report of the Commission on a Way Forward.

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