Bishop Ough to address morning plenary re: split rumors


Bishop Bruce R. Ough (left) receives the gavel as incoming president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops from outgoing president Warner H. Brown, Jr. during the 2016 General Conference in Portland, Ore.


10:24 Bishop Ough addresses the plenary session. He shares a personal story of broken heartedness with regard to his brother, who died several years ago of heart disease.  He tells the body that the Council of Bishops have been in conversation with “leading voices from various groups, our conference delegations, and General Conference officials.” He also shares his personal broken-heartedness and that of his COB colleagues for “our beloved United Methodist Church,” over disagreements regarding human sexuality.

“We have risked exploring what many would consider radical new ideas to organize the United Methodist Church according to deeply held and differing values and convictions.” Complete audio of Bishop Ough’s statement from the floor:


9:42 a.m. From Bishop Marcus Matthews, Baltimore-Washington Area:

“Many of you have been hearing rumors that the bishops of our church are discussing a split in our denomination.  That is not true.  We, the Council of Bishops, are committed to unity in the church.”

9:18 a.m. – UMR receives Good News Statement, see below:

Some of you may have read or heard last night that “the Council of Bishops is working with a broad base of United Methodists to develop a proposal for a plan of separation for the denomination to come before a special GC in 2018.” On the night before General Conference convened and over the last week, we have been invited by Bishop Warner Brown, outgoing president of the Council of Bishops, to participate in conversations seeking a way to be able to live together within our church, despite what we see as irreconcilable differences. The conversations reached the point that the Council of Bishops was considering their role in moving the process forward. While we were waiting for the response of the Council, some in the progressive movement last night broke the agreement of confidentiality by publicizing something that had not been formally proposed. We are still waiting for the response of the Council of Bishops. We will attend another meeting today to see if the bishops are willing to propose anything. However, this breach of promise makes us extremely cautious about moving forward. We will keep you apprised in the days to come.

8:00 a.m.

UMR has confirmed that Bishop Bruce Ough will ask delegates for a moment to address them from the floor of the General Conference plenary session this morning. Delegates will have to grant the bishop’s request by voting to allow his statement. We expect Ough to speak around 10:2o a.m. pacific time. The statement will most likely be a response to rumors of a plan of separation of the church that began last night on social media. The Washington Post also ran this story about a church split this morning.

Bishop Ough is the incoming president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops. UMR will continue to follow this story.


Laura Harbert Allen, Managing Editor

Laura is an independent public radio and multimedia producer who makes stories in the documentary tradition. She served as communications director for the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church for seven years and has more than 20 years experience in public radio as an announcer, producer, program director, and general manager. She has also written about music for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, and done feature work for Wonderful West Virginia Magazine. Laura is married to the Rev. Jeff Allen. They live in Charleston, West Virginia.

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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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Steve Zinser
Steve Zinser

How about 2 separate prongs under one corporate name? It would be similar to having 2 companies under the same corporation. Two directions but sharing some things like pensions, health care, publishing house, etc..

Richard F Hicks
Richard F Hicks

The “we’re not talking about that” reminds me of countless White House press secretaries down through the ages who have said the same thing just before the announcement of talks with FILL IN THE BLANK are made public. Thank you, Richard F Hicks, OKC

Richard F Hicks
Richard F Hicks

You mean like Coke and Pepsi under the same roof in difference wings of the building? I don’t think so. Thank you, Richard F Hicks, OKC

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