To fulfill the mandate given by the 2016 General Conference to lead The United Methodist Church in discerning and proposing a way forward through the present impasse related to human sexuality and the consequent questions about unity and covenant, the Council of Bishops has appointed eight bishops, 11 laity, 11 elders, and two deacons — one of whom is our own Rev. Casey Orr, Associate Pastor of Discipleship — to serve on the Commission on a Way Forward.
“This is a great honor for Casey to be chosen from nominees throughout the global United Methodist Church,” says Dr. Tim Bruster, Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth. “Her nomination and selection by the Council of Bishops demonstrates that the Council sees what all of us who know Casey have seen for a long time. She is a gifted, thoughtful, capable pastor whose commitment to Christ and to The United Methodist Church is stellar. Her gifts and graces will serve the church well in helping navigate these stormy waters. She and the other members of the Commission will need our support and prayers as they undertake this challenging task. We as a church will support her in every way that we can.”
While this Commission — a group painstakingly selected from more than 300 nominees to represent our denomination’s theological diversity — will not determine a resolution to these issues (clergy and laity will vote on these matters at a called General Conference in 2018), it will be expected to inform and help guide the Council of Bishops’ leadership.
“As head of the Central Texas Annual Conference delegation to that 2018 called session of the General Conference,” Dr. Bruster says, “I look forward with hope to seeing the results of their work and being a part of working on and voting on their recommendations.”
Casey says that while this appointment was an incredible surprise, she feels hopeful that the Commission can set an example to our church for listening to one another, disagreeing with one another, and growing in understanding of one another. “As I’ve settled into the reality of serving on the Commission, I have to assume that God was and is at work in this process and have become convicted that maybe my experience and wisdom — however limited they may seem — could be used to serve our church,” Casey says. “I’m humbled and thankful to Bishop Lowry and the Council of Bishops for entrusting me with this opportunity to serve, and hope to serve in a way that honors that trust.”
“Casey [is] an outstanding choice who will prayerfully see a way forward in these tumultuous times,” Bishop Lowry writes in his latest blog post. “I ask us all to keep the entire Commission, and indeed The United Methodist Church as a whole, in our prayers. I especially ask that you be in prayer for Casey.”