Council Executive Committee Affirms Unity, Moves Forward
Nashville, Tenn.: Meeting in Chicago last week, the Council of Bishops' Executive Committee approved a framework for implementing the Commission on a Way Forward and took a step toward a called session of the General Conference in 2018.
The Council acknowledged that the landscape of the church has changed dramatically since the General Conference approved the Council's proposal in May, but re-affirmed their commitment to lead the church forward.
"The reported declarations of non-compliance from several annual conferences, the intention to convene a Wesleyan Covenant Association and the election of the Rev. Karen Oliveto
as a bishop of the church have opened deep wounds and fissures within The United Methodist Church and fanned fears of schism," said Bishop Bruce R. Ough, Council president, in a detailed statement
outlining the actions taken. "The church finds itself in an extremely fragile, highly contested season."
The statement further reads, "We affirm that, as disciples of Jesus, we are all called to maintain unity in the bond of peace. As a Council, we re-affirm our commitment to lead the church in discerning and charting a way forward. We intend to do so with prayerful attention to both urgency and thoughtful preparation."
The Council adopted a purpose statement for the Commission, including its mission, vision and scope,
and determined that it will be composed of 20-25 members to be identified by August 31 with a target of October for an initial meeting. Each bishop will nominate up to five persons, and names that have previously been submitted to either the president or executive secretary of the Council will be considered as well.
A search is already underway for a professional facilitator to design and guide the Commission’s discernment process. Bishops Ken Carter, Sandra Steiner Ball and David Yemba have been selected to serve as a team of moderators to preside, provide spiritual guidance and pastoral care. Updates on the Commission's actions will be provided through regular press releases every 4-6 weeks.
An invitation to prayer for the Commission involving the entire church, called "Praying Our Way Forward," will be launched in October. More details regarding that initiative will be forthcoming.
The Executive Committee will bring the matter of a called special session to the full Council for consideration in November. Only the full Council could authorize such a session.
In a related action, the Council further voted to urge the Judicial Council to include the South Central Jurisdictional Conference's request regarding the election of Bishop Karen Oliveto on the docket for their fall meeting on October 25-28.
For additional, more detailed information, read the full statement
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
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: 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
RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.