Council of Bishops recommends way forward

Bishop Bruce R. Ough reads a statement about sexuality and the church from the denomination’s Council of Bishops on May 18 at the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, OR.

Portland. OR — In a statement this morning to the General Conference 2016 delegates, Bishop Bruce Ough outlined the Council of Bishop’s recommendations for a way forward for The United Methodist Church.

The bishops asked delegates to defer any votes on human sexuality to a special commission that would work specifically on those paragraphs in the denomination’s law book, possibly revising every paragraph in the Book of Discipline related to human sexuality. The bishop also said there could be a called session of the General Conference in 2018 0r 2019 to vote on the work of the commission.

The Council of Bishops also called for a time of prayer and discernment, beginning this week. “We as your bishops are committed to praying with you,” said Ough.

The Rev. Mike Slaughter, a leading voice in the UMC’s debate on human sexuality said he appreciated the work of the Council.

“If I had the opportunity, I would come to the mic and thank the bishops for the work that we’ve done and ask that the body accept the recommendation,” he said. Slaughter also said he hopes punishment of clergy who perform same-sex marriages would end while the commission does its work.

“The only way there is unity is when we come together in love. I truly believe when all people are welcome to the table,” he said.

Slaughter’s comments echo the Council of Bishop’s commitment to unity in the church, a theme they have repeatedly highlighted

John Lomperis, director of UMAction, said the delegates are elected to do a job: vote. “We’ve been entrusted with a lot of the church’s money to do this job,” he said. “This is asking us to refrain from doing our duty to agree to a dereliction of duty by giving it to a commission none of us understands.”

“We shouldn’t vote for it.”

The COB’s recommendations come after several delegates asked the bishop’s to lead the United Methodist Church forward. “You are our spiritual leaders,” said the Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of Church of the Resurrection. “I plead with you to help us.”

Delegates are in session now, participating in a 30 minute time of prayer and conversation that followed Ough’s statement.

Click here to read the full statement.

 

 

 

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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15 Comments on "Council of Bishops recommends way forward"

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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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David Vaughn
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How many United Methodist committees have been formed over the years to discuss, hash and rehash this very issue? And so, our bishops want to form another study commission to continue the dialog and debate. What have they added to the mix to assure it will be any different than all the committees that have already spent years saying the same things over and over again? They propose to ignore all the petitions and proposed legislation that has been voted upon by annual conferences around the world and sent to this General Conference to be considered, and wait another 3… Read more »
Carter Cortelyou
Guest
There has been 1 committee – formed in 1988. LGBT individuals were excluded from membership on that committee. The committee was able to reach consensus (no objection) on four items: 1) The 7 references to homosexuality in the Bible represent ancient culture and not the will of God. They cannot be taken as definitive. 2) Homosexuality is a normal human sexual variant, which can be healthy and whole. 3) Covenantal, committed, and monogamous homosexual relationships should be affirmed. 4) These conclusions are supported by God’s grace, which is visible in the life of lesbian and gay Christians. A majority report… Read more »
Glenn Harrell
Guest
Committee: “The unqualified nominated by the unwilling to do the unnecessary.” –Proven by the majority statement. 4 points that affirm their incompetence and defiled conscience. The minority report must be upheld until the latest “Committee” returns with more of the majority same. They are counting on 4 years of “no penalty” to further dis-arm the opposition. In four years, on present course, the denomination will be down to 2 million in weakly attendance in the USA. If the Methodist Church was a business with CEO and officers, they would all be fired for derelict of duty and watching a business… Read more »
Steve Zinser
Guest
A bunch of lousy acting yesterday and today. “There’s a crisis!” they scream yesterday, as if they’ve never realized it before. We need the bishops (who are on the side of homosexualizing the denomination) to guide us down the straight and narrow. “I know…let’s spend millions more that we don’t have to prolong this illness a few more years and let the very perpetrators of the problem be the ones to decide it via commission.” These are all lies. This is a strategized plan by those who realize the votes are not going their way. Please vote and get this… Read more »
David Trawick
Guest

Sounds like a stall tactic, especially given the strongly conservative work that’s been done by the committees and results they’re bringing to the plenary session.

eric pone
Guest
This guarantees that the current crisis will continue for 4 years. No one is going sit around on either minority side of this issue and wait for a committee to recommend. This is rule 44 all over again. No the Reconciling network and Good News caucus’ have been given free reign to seize leadership from GC and impose their will on the the rest of us. We as Methodists brought this on ourselves with the consistent appointment of weak willed Bishops who have chosen over and over to not show leadership to the body. Even in a broken COB we… Read more »
Richard F Hicks
Guest

Nonsense!!! The committee with the power to do something has been working on this for about forty years. That is – the GC sitting as a committee of the whole. This scheme is a way to delay having to make decisions. Is that the purpose of this plan? Thank you, Richard F Hicks, OKC

guest
Guest

Zero moving forward. ZERO. They asked us to put it off because they know a change is not forthcoming. In a stunning turn of events, they’ve made sure the church dies.. slightly.. less .. quickly.

Glenn Harrell
Guest
So my son says, “Dad, I want to continue staying out past curfew, speeding in the car –you and mom paying the tickets, trashing my sister on Facebook, keeping my live-in girlfriend and staying away from that lame church and its bigoted pastor you go to.” To which his mother and I say, “O my son–We are so sorry you have been thus offended and set apart. We have restricted your freedoms based upon archaic and out-dated morals. Your mom and I will deliberate this further for 4 years, at which time we will conclude that you were right all… Read more »
guest
Guest
When I’m doing marriage counseling, I ask them one thing: Can you be in this relationship another 5 years? If they answer “no, God no.. of course not..” then I ask them why they would be in it another 5 minutes. (LONG story made short and wrong in the shorten-ing.. but you get the idea.) American UMC’s and overseas UMC’s simply cannot play in the same sandbox, and never will. No amount of studies / thoughts / prayers / holy conferencing will EVeR change that.. so why try? You have a nice sandbox there, enjoy it. We’ll take our rake… Read more »
John Bufford
Guest

I say NO to this proposal.. we have already waited four more painful years.. NOW is the time to correct this discrimination.. If the #umcgc doesn’t get it right this time, it will be #timeforasplit ..

Mike Thomas
Guest

This is a good, positive step forward. We need a timeout and a cooling off period.

David Trawick
Guest

What makes you think there would be any “cooling off”? It’s been 44 years of “holy conferencing,” theologizing, arguing, rule breaking, church trials, agonizing, praying, and hand wringing. Why would that change all of a sudden?

Mike Thomas
Guest
The “cooling off” isn’t for you guys. I doubt the angry rightwingers will ever cool off about anything. Being angry and resentful is just their status quo. The cooling off period is for the rest of the church body which hasn’t been paying that much attention to this issue until now when we have come this close to splitting up. But putting all the church trials and prosecutions and persecutions on hold for the next two years, maybe people will start to see that was the problem all along. The rightwing insistence on having their hardline views forced onto everyone… Read more »
Mike
Guest

“I doubt the angry rightwingers will ever cool off about anything.” That’s rich seeing as we aren’t the ones parading around the convention center with rainbow colored duct tape over our mouths and disrupting the proceedings. The only crisis I see here is that over the past 44 years, the ‘angry leftwingers’ consistently haven’t gotten the answer they want to hear and are determined to tear apart the denomination and make everyone’s lives miserable.

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