Great Plains conference calls for reconciliation and bishop responds


Bishop Scott Jones released a letter today to the clergy and lay members of the Great Plains Annual Conference responding to the resolution passed by that conference this past weekend asking the legal counsels in the Cynthia Meyer case to ask Bishop Jones to seek all possible solutions through a Just Resolution process as outlined in ¶2706.5c3 of the 2012 United Methodist Book of Discipline.

The resolution, submitted by the Rev. Russell Brown, was understood to be both aspirational and non-binding to the parties involved. It was approved by the annual conference by a hand vote by a large measure after a healthy debate on Saturday morning. The statement referred to the Council of Bishops Way Forward statement, noting “…a unique window of opportunity has been opened by the letter from the Council of Bishops dated May 18, 2016, titled ‘A Way Forward’ through encouragement to ‘. . . continue to explore options to help the church live in grace with one another—including ways to avoid further complaints, trials, and harm while we uphold the Discipline…'” It then called on the Council for the Church and the Council for the Respondent to approach the bishop and Rev. Meyer about continuing the Just Resolution process in search of a non-judicial solution.

Jones’ response today affirmed the resolution, suggesting that it was “…in accordance with the desires I had already expressed in my letter to you earlier.” Jones said that he had been in contact with all the parties involved in this dispute to communicate his intention to take the resolution seriously. “I did not wait for them to make a request,” Jones said, “but invited them to engage in an intensive effort to seek a just resolution in this matter.”

Jones said that as means of seeking success, he had asked for the content of the conversations to be confidential until either a just resolution is obtained, or that the Committee on Investigation is informed that a resolution is not possible.

“I indicated to you,” Jones concluded, “that we, the Great Plains Conference, have been put in a place where there are no good options. I hope to avoid a trial and still keep my covenant vows.”

Click here to read the full Great Plains AC resolution.

Click here to read the full text of Jones’ letter.

Jay Voorhees, Former Executive Editor

The Rev. Jay Voorhees is the Executive Editor of The United Methodist Reporter and the Chief Creative Officer for CircuitWriter Media LLC which operates this site and Jay is an ordained elder in the Tennessee Annual Conference. Jay has written on life and the practice of faith in The United Methodist Church at Only Wonder Understands since 2003.

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