Council of Bishops Names 32 Commission Members


councilOfBishopsWashington, 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 8 bishops, 11 laity, 12 elders and 1 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: MEMBERSHIP 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 Deborah 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 MODERATORS Sandra Steiner Ball USA, West Virginia, bishop, female Kenneth Carter USA, Florida, bishop, male David Yemba Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, bishop, male

Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at


  • Resources
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.