Bishops recommend A Way Forward:

After much deliberation and prayer the Council of Bishops announced on May 4, 2018, that they will submit a report to the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference that includes three options for the future of our denomination: The Traditionalist Plan, The One Church Plan and the Connectional Conference Plan. These three options will be considered and voted on during the Special Session of the General Conference that meets in February 2019.

A summary of the three plans can be found at 

The Council of Bishops also voted to recommend the One Church Plan. This plan provides conferences, churches, and pastors the flexibility to uniquely reach their missional context while retaining the connectional nature of The United Methodist Church.

The One Church Plan allows for contextualization of language about human sexuality in support of the mission of the church. It removes the restrictive language of the Book of Discipline regarding the ordination of LGBTQ persons and the performance of same sex weddings by United Methodist clergy.

The One Church Plan adds assurances to pastors and Conferences whose theological convictions prevent them from performing same-sex weddings or ordaining LGBTQ persons. In addition, it allows central conferences, especially those in Africa, to retain their disciplinary authority to adapt the Book of Discipline in order to continue to include traditional language and values while fulfilling the vision of a global and multicultural church.

The Council of Bishops recommended the One Church Plan because it “encourages a generous unity by giving United Methodists the ability to address different missional contexts in ways that reflect their theological convictions.”

Michigan Conference Bishop David Bard noted that “The Council of Bishops was under no illusion that our actions would ‘solve’ our current conflicts.  We continue to ask what would help us compose the next chapter in our life together as a church.”

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