Note from Pastor Rebecca
As some of you may know, there have been some very important conversations regarding human sexuality in our United Methodist Denomination recently. At our 2016 General Conference in Portland, Oregon we asked our Council of Bishops to help lead the church through that conversation. The Council of Bishops then created a 32-member Commission on a Way Forward. They were clergy and laity from the US and around the global connection, they were a variety of ages, and they held a variety of theological perspectives. This Commission on a Way Forward was tasked with creating a variety of models that might help the church move forward.
The Commission met over an 18-month period their report included three models: one that focused on accountability within the context of the current Book of Discipline language (Traditionalist Model); one that focused on removing restrictive language and placing a high value on contextuality and protections of various perspectives (One Church Model); and one that reimagined the church as a unified core with multiple branches (Connectional Conference Plan).
The Council of Bishops is offering the One Church Model as their recommendation to the General Conference that will meet on February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, MO. The full details of that plan are set to be released later in 2018.
I am a part of the Great Plains Delegation that will be attending that General Conference in St. Louis and I would ask that you to hold myself and the other 29 clergy and laity from Nebraska and Kansas in your prayers as we prepare for that time. Please pray for an openness of heart, mind, and spirit as we do our important work together. I believe that God is with us and that God will continue to work through the United Methodist Church for many, many generations to come. We are not done yet!
Please know that I am happy to talk through this process at any point, please just call or email me and we will arrange a time to meet. We will also have an opportunity to hear from Bishop Ruben Saenz on Saturday, August 25th from 10am-Noon at St. Luke UMC (11810 Burke Street, Omaha). Please plan to attend that session – it will help unpack the bigger picture of what’s been happening historically, and it will give you an opportunity to hear directly from him about the work of Council of Bishops and the Commission on a Way Forward.
Our prayers and our conversations continue – glad to be doing this work with all of you.