COB Executive Committee releases statement on moving forward


Meeting in Chicago last week, the Council of Bishops’ Executive Committee approved a framework for implementing the Commission on a Way Forward and took a step toward a called session of the General Conference in 2018.

The Council acknowledged that the landscape of the church has changed dramatically since the General Conference approved the Council’s proposal in May, but re-affirmed their commitment to lead the church forward.

“The reported declarations of non-compliance from several annual conferences, the intention to convene a Wesleyan Covenant Association and the election of the Rev. Karen Oliveto as a bishop of the church have opened deep wounds and fissures within The United Methodist Church and fanned fears of schism,” said Bishop Bruce R. Ough, Council president, in a detailed statement outlining the actions taken. “The church finds itself in an extremely fragile, highly contested season.”

The statement further reads, “We affirm that, as disciples of Jesus, we are all called to maintain unity in the bond of peace.  As a Council, we re-affirm our commitment to lead the church in discerning and charting a way forward. We intend to do so with prayerful attention to both urgency and thoughtful preparation.”

The Council adopted a purpose statement for the Commission, including its mission, vision and scope, and determined that it will be composed of 20-25 members to be identified by August 31 with a target of October for an initial meeting. Each bishop will nominate up to five persons, and names that have previously been submitted to either the president or executive secretary of the Council will be considered as well.

A search is already underway for a professional facilitator to design and guide the Commission’s discernment process.  Bishops Ken Carter, Sandra Steiner Ball and David Yemba have been selected to serve as a team of moderators to preside, provide spiritual guidance and pastoral care. Updates on the Commission’s actions will be provided through regular press releases every 4-6 weeks.

An invitation to prayer for the Commission involving the entire church, called “Praying Our Way Forward,” will be launched in October. More details regarding that initiative will be forthcoming.

The Executive Committee will bring the matter of a called special session to the full Council for consideration in November. Only the full Council could authorize such a session.

In a related action, the Council further voted to urge the Judicial Council to include the South Central Jurisdictional Conference’s request regarding the election of Bishop Karen Oliveto on the docket for their fall meeting on October 25-28.

For additional, more detailed information, read the full statement.


This story was written and released by Press Center of United Methodist Communications. 

Press Releases

Press Releases

The United Methodist Reporter receives press releases on a regular basis from UM related agencies announcing events and other programs. We are providing them unedited as a service to UMR readers.

Leave a Reply

17 Comments on "COB Executive Committee releases statement on moving forward"

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)
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
iI seems that the Council of Bishops is leading from behind( if they are leading at all). The UM Church is already split, it is just a matter of how things will be divided and organized. Even if the Judicial Council makes the election of a gay bishop null and void, who in their right mind believes that the Western Jurisdiction will accept that decision and elect another bishop? Who believes that she will be removed from ministry because her ‘marriage’ violates our Discipline? Who thinks that all gay clergy in our denomination will be charged with violating the Discipline… Read more »
Wesley Putnam

Putting the Wesleyan Covenant Association in the same category as those who have acted in total disregard of our BOD and our covenant is INFURIATING!! If the COB thinks they can foster unity by poking the conservatives in the eye, they are dreaming!

Mike Mayhugh

Stop wasting time and money! Draw up the divorce papers and lets move on!


“Blah, blah, blah blah”… COB show how to say nothing and do nothing in 1000 words or more.

Carl Amos

Would it be possible for the Commission to use the Holy Bible and not a bunch a stuff people made up? And to use the Holy Bible in the context that it was written.

Floyd L.

Let’s be honest. Hard times are coming. It’s going to get **much** worse.


Who is currently serving on the COB Executive Committee along with President Bishop Bruce Ough?

Tim Lusk

While i have empathy for the COB, the think and prayer for the LGBT persons setting in congregations all over the world. Their worth as children of G-d is at stake not the doctrines and laws of the UMC.
As a former UM pastor and t gay man u know their pain first hand. G-d have mercy on the UMC


Let’s MOVE already. How long do we wait? 2018 must be an arbitrary date. The UMC is moving into the umc at an even faster clip!!!

jimmie shelby

just wondering if this is REALLY progress…………..

%d bloggers like this: