Pastor's Paragraph for June 17, 2018
JUNE 17, 2018
As many of you know, I will be serving as a delegate to the February 23 – 26, 2019 Special General Conference in St. Louis. General Conference is the global decision-making body for The United Methodist Church, and this Special Session will be particularly crucial because of the mandate to make decisions on The United Methodist Church’s position on ordination of openly LGBTQ candidates for ministry and on same-sex marriage. The Council of Bishops has recommended a proposal for the General Conference to consider. This proposal, called the One Church Plan, would mean that in the future, each Annual Conference would decide separately through votes by their Board of Ordained Ministry and Clergy Session as to whether or not LGBTQ candidates could be ordained. Each pastor would choose whether or not they would perform same-sex marriages. And, each local church would decide on their marriage policy. There are other plans that may come to the General Conference for consideration. We are still waiting to see what those may be. What is clear now is that I, and The United Methodist Church, are in need of your prayer. The Council of Bishops has invited all people into a specific pattern of prayer over the next 8 months. I invite you, as well, to:
1. Engage in a weekly Wesleyan 24-hour fast from Thursday after dinner to Friday mid-afternoon. Those who have health situations causing food fasts to be unadvisable might consider fasting from social media, emails or another activity.
2. Pause and pray for our church’s mission and way forward daily for four minutes from 2:23 through 2:26 a.m. or p.m. OR at another time. This is because the Special Ses-sion will be held February 23 through February 26.
3. Pray using a weekly prayer calendar that will be posted at UMCPrays.org through the end of February 2019. The calendar will list a unique cluster of names each week. The names will balance United States bishops and delegates with Central Conference bish-ops and delegates. It will also include General Secretaries, Commission on a Way For-ward members, the Commission of the General Conference and the staff of the General Conference.
I thank you for joining me in covering this time of discernment in prayer!
Grace & peace to you,