Bishops call United Methodists to prayer in human sexuality statement

councilOfBishopsOklahoma City, Okla.: The Council of Bishops issued a statement concerning human sexuality, addressing their diverse perspectives and calling the people of The United Methodist Church to be in prayer, both for their leaders and for one another.

The statement reads:

As bishops of The United Methodist Church, our hearts break because of the divisions that exist within the church.  We have been in constant prayer and conversation and affirm our consecration vow “to guard the faith, to seek the unity and to exercise the discipline of the whole church.” We recognize that we are one church in a variety of contexts around the world and that bishops and the church are not of one mind about human sexuality. Despite our differences, we are united in our commitment to be in ministry for and with all people.  We are also united in our resolve to lead the church together to fulfill its mandate—to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. As we do so, we call on all United Methodists to pray for us and for one another.

The bishops worked together on the statement during several executive sessions during their weeklong meeting in Oklahoma City.

The statement came near the close of the Council’s meeting, which opened on Monday with the bishops reaffirming the commitments they made when they were consecrated. During the president’s address, Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. of the San Francisco Episcopal Area asked the bishops if they would stand with him to reaffirm their vows as he prayed.

Bishop Brown called for unity within the church and encouraged finding “places where we can agree to work together and find common ground.”

“Leading a church, such as ours, with a diversity of perspectives means we must let people know we hear them, and that we are listening both to those voices that are in the majority and those that are in the minority so that all know they’re heard,” said Bishop Brown.

In November 2013, the Council voted to form a task force which would lead conversations about human sexuality, race and gender with the goal of coming to a shared theological understanding amid differing perspectives and cultures. The task force will continue its work.

“The Council of Bishops is charged to lead the church in a time of prayer and discernment. The task force will seek to work for the council as the conversation continues,” said Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, who chairs the task force. “In a worldwide church serving in very diverse contexts and composed of faithful Christians who have different opinions, we, the bishops, are committed to pastoral care for all our people as we continue to find a way forward.”

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32 Comments on "Bishops call United Methodists to prayer in human sexuality statement"

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 
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Joanna Persse
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Where are the Wesley descendants?

Joanna Persse
Guest

I also pray that more Methodist churches point out to their congregations that Jesus says that Salvation comes from the Jews.

james
Guest

the bishops worship at a liberal progressive radical feminist altar. they are afraid to take a stand because they love the phylacteries of the office as opposed to the Blood of a Sacrificed and Risen Savior. no matter what discussion takes place in “this” venue, the umc as was founded by John Wesley will not ever recover. which ever side chooses to leave–so be it!!! just let/have the leaving happen……………………………

KEEP LOOKING UP!!!!! SIGNS AND WONDERS ARE HAPPENING EVERY DAY…………

Elaine T.
Guest
I believe that many of our bishops see themselves as CEO’s of a company rather than spiritual leaders. They act as if people should be relevant to our culture rather than redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. They worship a sappy, weak god who says, “Lets all be sweet and nice.” Being nice and sweet is all well and good but they deny the fact that our God is all powerful and is in the business of changing and transforming people’s lives. I was singing Amazing Grace the other night and thought about how God redeemed the life of… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
Guest

I guess that was “a weak sappy God” crucified on the cross then, since it certainly wasn’t Odin or Jupiter.

Wes Andrew Either s
Guest

I’m with George, the progressives are never going to trust or affirm the authority of Scripture and thus they will never honor the Book of Discipline until it disregards Scripture.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

False assumptions. Changing UMC practices to reflect reality is to uphold scripture.

Wes Andrews
Guest

George, this response among many is nonsensical.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

The absence of fear always makes points made by the fearless seem nonsensical.

james
Guest

loud AMEN!!!!!

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Not gonna happen

Kevin
Guest
Let’s compare this statement with one our bishops issued three years ago where they said this; “One of the deep disagreements and divisions within the church is over the practice of homosexuality, recently heightened by a group of clergy who have declared that they will perform holy unions in opposition to the Book of Discipline. This has caused different experiences of deep pain throughout the church. As the bishops of the church, we commit ourselves to be in prayer for the whole church and for the brokenness our communities experience. Furthermore, we “implore families and churches not to reject or… Read more »
MethodistPie
Guest

Whether the bishops are of “one mind” or not is beside the point. Each of them took a vow to uphold the Book of Discipline. Period. If they weren’t going to do it, they shouldn’t have accepted the job in the first place, and if they aren’t going to do it now, they should resign. Not that I think for a nanosecond that will happen. And the beat goes on. It’s very difficult to take the office of bishop seriously, anymore.

Dr. James Ballard
Guest
All the Bishops can say is that are not of one mind. I was watching the Connectional Table proceedings. They certainly sound of one mind there. Biblically, we know what happened in the Old Testament when the people of Israel were not of one mind over a subject that God had already spoken on, judgment follows. We will never be of one mind again until the Discipline is changed to reflect the new rebellion. Bishops are appointed for life and apparently cannot be disciplined. Integrity to ordination vows means nothing. This is about advocacy and being on a mission. When… Read more »
Joanna Persse
Guest
I agree that there should be gay unions within the Methodist church and that the church needs to change according to the times. Is anyone in the Methodist church reading the old testament the way I do. God supports gayness if the sexual acts are performed in a Godly manner and as long as there isn’t cheating and permission is requested of the spouse. The problem is I don’t think many homosexuals are thinking their unions through right. We are in a new century, I think it is time to amend our methods. I also wish that one religon would… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
Guest

One can certainly take a leap of faith that such will be made so.

james
Guest

check out the comments UM News Service attributes to seminarians who attend Claremont. I expect other seminaries are at least as liberal. the continued dialogue that “we” make here in order to make a difference in the direction of the umc are moot. KEEP LOOKING UP!! SIGNS AND WONDERS ARE HAPPENING EVERY DAY………………………………..

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

And those are…?

John Battern
Guest

The Council has about as much backbone as a wet noodle. Them saying, “Let’s just pray about it,” does little more than to avoid the difficult issue of Bishops and pastors who refuse to uphold the Discipline. As far as I can see, they’re going to continue to talk about unity and act with disunity.

Victor Galipi
Guest

The bishops would all be of one mind on human sexuality if they all had their minds on the clear word of God on this matter, instead of trying to be politically correct and have unity at any price. I have been and will continue to pray for our Bishops, that they will stop reinterpreting the Bible (2 Pet 1:20) and start teaching it faithfully, according to their calling as Bishops and in accordance with their ordination vows.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Exactly. And for that reason they should support removing the odious “homosexual practice” language from the BOD.

Wes Andrews
Guest

The Bishops don’t have the authority to add or remove any kind of language from the Book of Discipline. That is the problem. Several have acted as if they can. They should resign. Ultimately the issue, is not merely the Book of Discipline but following Scripture, not just on marriage and sexuality, but on all issues.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

People are obligated to disobey unjust rules.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

What’s it?

Wes Andrews
Guest

So you are completely free to make it us as you go. That is evident in your contributions to these discussions. Those of us who trust in Scripture, trust that it is inspired by a loving and holy God. We carefully read and study the Scripture with the help of the Holy Spirit so that we will understand life and truth based on Scripture, rather than on culture. Culture has always exploited and abused people, Scripture points them to redemption.

Wes Andrews
Guest

George, you don’t believe in the authority of Scripture.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

No, I am not willing to answer inopportune questions hurled as weapons not asked in a Christian spirit, as those are. You possess no authority whatsoever to cudgel people. Try looking in the mirror instead of out the window.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

I was asking that Wes fella, not you.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Is that an interrogatory sentence or a declarative one?

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