Commission on a Way Forward prepares for critical meeting in Berlin
September 11, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the Commission on a Way Forward prepares for its next meeting, the moderators are asking all United Methodists to continue to pray for the Commission members as they work to discern options for a way forward for The United Methodist Church in the midst of disagreement regarding the disciplinary stance related to human sexuality.
The moderators, Bishops David Yemba, Sandra Steiner Ball and Ken Carter, are urging people to continue praying as Commission members gather for their fifth meeting Sept. 18-20 in Berlin, Germany.
“At this critical juncture of our work, we invite United Methodists everywhere to pray and to invite the strength and creativity of the Holy Spirit to surround the Commission and our denomination,” the moderators said.
After the last meeting in Chicago in July, the 32-member Commission, appointed by the Council of Bishops to assist the bishops in discerning a way forward, issued a status report in PDF form and in video form.
Among the things indicated in the report was the challenging nature of the global context of the church, noting that concerns and goals related to human sexuality vary widely across the globe and that Central Conferences, like the U.S. Jurisdictions, are not of one mind on ordination and marriage of LGBTQ persons.
The global context is complex due to differing cultural, civic, legal restrictions and freedoms. Some changes within the current disciplinary language pose a potential threat to the vital mission of our Central Conferences. Understanding and honoring the nuances of each central conference is critical, the status report noted.
The Commission, which has had feedback from individuals, churches, caucus groups, boards and agencies, laity, candidates for ministry, and clergy, is working on several ideas and proposals, including consideration of a looser structure, respect for contextualization, and a focus on naming the essentials of theology and doctrine. The Commission is expected to share some of the ideas and its work so far and gather feedback from the bishops at the November meeting of the Council of Bishops. The commission will likely complete its work in the later part of 2018 in readiness for the Special Session of General Conference, which is set for February 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
To learn about the commission, watch this video, capturing the commission members at work. You can also learn more about the Commission via: