The Way Forward, from Easter to Pentecost


Message from the moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward

We live in the great fifty days, after the church has witnessed the presence of the risen Christ and before the coming of the Holy Spirit. It is a time of being together in community, discerning the future and depending on God.

The Commission on a Way Forward recently gathered for its third meeting. We studied the scriptures, shared meals, reflected honestly about our convictions and listened intently to each other’s hopes. We also began to think strategically and structurally about the future of our church, as we have been asked by the denomination to do.

In anticipation of the upcoming Judicial Council decision related to the election of Karen Oliveto as a Bishop of the church, we want to remind you of the context of our ongoing work. The Council of Bishops is committed to the unity of the church and the flourishing of its mission. One of the instruments of this unity is the Commission on a Way Forward, which is accountable to the Council of Bishops and through the Council to the General Conference.

We believe the Holy Spirit is operating through the Commission’s and Council’s leadership and conferencing. The conciliar work of the Commission happens concurrently with other legal, legislative, and supervisory processes. The members of the Judicial Council are elected by the General Conference. Their decisions are the product of their own sense of guidance.

The Commission on a Way Forward will continue its work after the Judicial Council decision, and the outcome of the decision is not the focus of our mandate. We urge the entire church to stay focused on the Commission’s work as our best opportunity to determine God’s leading for the church.

In the coming months we will move more deeply into the implications of being a global church that seeks to balance an approach to different and contextual understandings of LGBTQ identity with a desire for as much unity and connection as possible. We will be exploring this in the context of our mission and structure, and we will be developing models of listening and teaching in collaboration with the Council of Bishops and across annual conferences.

We encourage you to follow the work of the Commission on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We are grateful for your prayers and indeed we depend upon them. And mostly we claim the promise of the scriptures, that God will pour out his spirit on all flesh! (Acts 2)

The Moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward (Bishops David Yemba, Sandra Steiner Ball, and Ken Carter)

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.