First United Methodist Church to Participate in Central Texas Conference “Praying Our Way Forward” Initiative
Friday, February 2 | 12:30 – 12:45 pm
A Moment of Prayer Wherever You Are
Background on the Debate
Since 1972, the General Conference, a representative body of our global denomination, has met to do the work of the United Methodist Church every four years. Part of that work has included divisive debate over human sexuality, particularly marriage and ordination rights for LGBTQ Christians.
At General Conference in 2016, that conversation hit something of a breaking point after decades of debate.
In an unprecedented move, a delegate from the floor requested the Council of Bishops meet and bring back a recommendation on how we might move forward — basically pleading with the Council to lead the General Conference in a different way than they have historically.
So the Council met and Bishop Ough, the president of the Council of Bishops, returned to address the General Conference with an offering for a way forward from the Council.
After naming a commitment to the unity of the church, Bishop Ough recommended that the General Conference defer all votes on human sexuality and refer this entire subject to a special Commission.
And that is what the General Conference did.
The Commission on a Way Forward
The Commission on a Way Forward was officially appointed in October of 2016. It includes 32 United Methodists (bishops, elders, deacons, and laity) from around the world.
The Commission represents our global diversity: different continents, genders, sexual orientations, roles in the church, and perspectives on the extent of LGBTQ inclusion in the life of the church.
The Commission has met seven times in different cities. It is working on preparing a proposal for maintaining unity and allowing for contextualization. This proposal will be sent to the Council of Bishops and released to the church this summer. That legislation will be voted upon by delegates at a special called session of the General Conference in 2019.
Praying Our Way Forward
It is logical for prayer to be a major part of our efforts to discern a way forward. After all, in addition to being a hallmark of the Methodist movement, prayer puts us in a posture where as a church we are asking and listening for God’s leadership.
From January 1, 2017, to June 2, 2018, every Central and Annual Conference around the world is leading our denomination in a week of prayer. Sunday, January 28, marked the beginning of the week led by Central Texas.
First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth has committed to pray from 12:30 – 12:45 pm on Friday, February 2. We ask that members of our congregation take that time — wherever you are — to be in prayer for the future of our denomination, the Commission on a Way Forward, the Council of Bishops, and the delegates who will make this important decision.UMCprays.org