Thank you for your ministry across North Alabama. Because of you, lives are being changed and communities are being transformed.
One of the phrases that I have heard repeatedly in recent weeks describes the prevailing attitude of your bishops and general conference delegates. We are more . . .
We are more united than we are divided. We are more together than we are separate. We are more than our disagreements. We are more . . . through our Creator who made us, Jesus Christ who redeems us and the Holy Spirit who leads us.
Our belief that “We are more” was demonstrated at General Conference in the following ways.
- The General Conference chose to stand united for the sake of staying in mission. We are a global church made up of people with differing viewpoints, yet we affirm a commitment to maintain and strengthen the unity of the church.
- We committed to continuing our work in the four Areas of Focus, and adopted bold new goals for the next four years: to make a million new disciples of Jesus Christ; to engage 3 million leaders to make a difference in the world; to transform 400 communities for vital abundant living; to reach a million children with lifesaving health interventions; and to double the number of vital congregations.
- We had serious discussions about the global growth of the church and the state of the church in the U.S., and passed the proposed decreased budget. In addition we added $5 million to the original proposal to double the Central Conference theological education fund.
- We retained our current positions on matters of human sexuality. We are committed to continue to operate according to our Book of Discipline while we explore options to help the church to live in grace with one another. A Special Commission will be formed by the Council of Bishops to review every paragraph in our Book of Discipline regarding human sexuality. This Commission could possibly bring recommendations to a called General Conference prior to 2020.
- Our gathering reflected our global nature more than ever before, with more international delegates and utilizing simultaneous language translations for all.
This brief summary does not do justice to all that occurred at General Conference 2016. So look for additional blogs about General Conference over the next couple of weeks.
In the meantime, I invite you to join me every day in offering thanks to God that “We are More.” As always it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
North Alabama Conference