A More Excellent Way

April 25, 2016

from-the-bishops-crop April 25, 2016 Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ. We write to you to express our deep gratitude for life together in the United Methodist Church here in the state of North Carolina. With you, we love our state and yearn for our lives to reflect the more excellent way described by Paul in I Corinthians 13. We share your deep concern in regard to the increasingly divisive nature of life in North Carolina. We urge United Methodist people to cultivate community that is welcoming and nurturing to all people. Our founder, John Wesley, described the humility that is appropriate for life together when he said that "Methodists may not think alike but that we do love alike." It is essential that we live into the world with the willingness to engage, to listen and to speak the truth in love. We are called to live the hospitable welcome of God in a world with increasing boundaries, borders, fences and walls. Our faith gives us courage to trust the power of grace, mercy and love. We dare not add to the increasing levels of fear, suspicion and divisiveness in our state and in our nation. Our calling to welcome, to forgive, and to love both God and neighbor is our powerful gift to the world. We observe the hurried passage of House Bill 2 (HB2) and its resultant harm to North Carolina - to individuals, to our economy, to our engagements with other states and nations, and to our future. We call for the repeal of HB2 as the legislature returns to Raleigh today. We urge all United Methodists to engage in prayer, in study of the issues, in patient listening and persevering conversation with others who hold differing opinion, and in courageous advocacy for what is right, just and good for all people in North Carolina. With gratitude for our life together, Bishop Larry Goodpaster, WNCC Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, NCC Bishop Ray Chamberlain, Retired, Winston-Salem Bishop Charlene P. Kammerer, Retired, Lake Junaluska Bishop Lawrence McCleskey, Retired, Lake Junaluska Bishop C. P. Minnick, Jr., Retired, Raleigh Bishop Thomas Stockton, Retired, Winston-Salem Bishop William H. Willimon, Retired, Durham