Response from Bishop Paul L. Leeland to Judicial Council
April 19, 2017
Dear Colleagues of our Western North Carolina Conference:
Following the election of Karen Oliveto as a Bishop of The United Methodist Church, the Judicial Council was requested by the South Central Jurisdiction for a declaratory decision regarding the constitutionality of the election. In anticipation of the Judicial Council’s response, to be released the end of April, we are cognizant of a mixture of emotions and opinions.
We often acknowledge the General Conference is the only authorized body to speak for the church and therefore a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council will not change and cannot change The Book of Discipline.
The Judicial Council, according to our Book of Discipline
, ¶ 56, has authority “to determine the constitutionality of any act of the General Conference…and any act of a jurisdictional or central conference.” Many of us realize the decision of the Judicial Council will convey their own perspective and will offer their reasoning. The work of the Judicial Council will reflect a specific response and will offer a specific request, but regardless of the response The Book of Discipline
will not change.
I believe our clergy, like the Council of Bishops, are committed to the unity of the church and the thriving of its mission. For this reason, I find myself seriously praying, and I invite you to pray, for the Commission on a Way Forward. I believe the Holy Spirit, our Counselor, Comforter, Guide, and Teacher, is already present and working in the midst of our labor on behalf of the church.
Bishop Bruce Ough, President of the Council of Bishops is working with the Council of Bishop’s Director of Communications; our UMCom staff members; and Bill Waddell, our Council of Bishop’s chancellor, to prepare a statement to the Church that will be released as soon as possible after we receive the Judicial Council’s decision. As the Council of Bishops offer a pastoral word to the Church, I encourage our clergy to offer a non-anxious, hopeful word to their congregations, reminding them that the Church is the Body of Jesus Christ and we serve Christ in all things and in all times.
Paul L. Leeland
Resident Bishop, Charlotte Area
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.