The Commission on a Way Forward was proposed by the Council of Bishops and approved by the 2016 General Conference to do a complete examination and possible revision of the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and to explore options that will maintain and strengthen the unity of the church.
On Tuesday, March 26, 2019, the United Methodist Church concluded its specially called General Conference on issues surrounding human sexuality. BUMC pastors want to keep you informed about the decisions that were made at this conference. Pending rulings by the Judicial Council, all legislation will go into effect January 1, 2020. The following items are what were approved by the 850+ voting delegates, who represent the global United Methodist Church.
We understand that you will still have questions. So do we. But we will continue to update you as we come into more information. Your BUMC pastors will continue their commitment to the mission and ministry of this church. While many decisions are still in flux, we trust wholeheartedly that God will lead us through this. We are honored to be in ministry with you, and we covet all your prayers for our church and our denomination as we walk through the days to come. Here at Birmingham, as always, we will strive to be in ministry to everyone in order to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
In January 2020 the clergy in our district received a note from Doug Thrasher (our District Superintendent) about the current status of the United Methodist view on human sexuality (and how this conversation is affecting the church). He noted that a group of bishops and other church leaders offered a proposal that has gained a lot of media attention. It is titled “The Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation.” You can read about the proposal here:
Doug reminded us that this plan, like any other plan regarding the future of the UMC, will be considered at General Conference in May 2020. News media reported about this matter, and some news agencies said the United Methodist Church is splitting. This is not accurate—this proposal has not been voted on yet by the General Conference. While Bishops, groups of Bishops, The Council of Bishops, UM agencies and Annual Conferences can speak for themselves, only General Conference (which next meets May 5-15) can speak for the entire United Methodist Church. You can read more about the legislative structure of the denomination here:
So how do we respond?
We will continue to keep you updated as we have relevant information. Please reach out to either Pastor Brent or Pastor Jennifer or John or Judy Wolfe if you have any questions.
Clergy and laity of North Georgia UMC congregations are invited to attend a town hall meeting with Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson on the future of The United Methodist Church here in North Georgia and beyond. The town hall closest to Milton is Sunday, March 1, 2020, at 3 p.m. at Hillside UMC. Click here for other dates and locations.
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