A letter from Bishop Stanovsky as the Council of Bishops offers its recommendation to The UMC

How very good and pleasant it is
  when kindred live together in unity!

For there the Lord ordained his blessing,
  life forevermore.

-Psalm 133:1, 3b

Today, the Council of Bishops strongly recommend that United Methodists stay together as ONE CHURCH.

Together, the council agreed to recommend that the 2019 General Conference make room for individuals, local churches and annual conferences to exercise conscience as they choose whether or not to ordain gay and lesbian clergy, or to perform weddings for couples of the same gender, by removing prohibitive language from the Book of Discipline, and letting Annual Conferences set standards for ordination, and same gender weddings.

This recommendation emerged out of honest anguish and disagreement, as well as patient listening and fervent prayer, as we met in closed session. We make this recommendation despite deep and painful differences in our understanding of God’s will for LGBTQ people and a recognition that the “contextual” teachings and practices of the church in one area not only makes ministry more difficult in other areas, but can cause real harm to people.

While forces around the world are sowing distrust and driving wedges to divide people against one another, we hope The United Methodist Church can be a witness to the whole world that people can live together in peace and love each other, despite profound disagreements, even as we continue to discern God’s will and way for the whole human family.

Living in hope,

Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky | Greater NW Area

Click here to read the Council of Bishops Press Release.

Comments (10)

  • Clare Elizabeth

    It is a place at the table but not the Table! Those that are in areas of greatest oppression will be subjected to more exclusion. Why are we so afraid of divorce? Yes, it is painful and hard, but often can be best for the Children! We are in a time of “turning the tables” as Christ did. Let us go boldly forward and not hide behind compromise.

    • A place at the table was a documentary about hunger and poverty. Not about the Methodist church and the BoD.

      • Dawn? Did you misread this? Are you incapable of understanding the point that was made? Reread and try again.

  • Bishop, I thank you deeply for your presence and witness. As I know your heart, I trust your depth and fearless honesty. I also respond with my own historically conditioned fear. When I read that you voted to send all three plans forward, regardless of your strong recommendation for plan One, the One Church Plan, my heart sank. You, the bishops, as well as the Committee on a Way Forward, have considered the plans in the midst of a strong committment to listen to every voice. The delegates to The Special General Conference have not had that experience and structurally, will be prevented from listeninging to the voices of out clergy. With a broken heart, I expect the Wesleyan Covenant folk and their colleagues to spend the next nine months telling the church that the only way to remain one church is to retain the anti-gay language, demand “accountability”, move episcopal elections to General Conference, and try “renegade” bishops at the Council of Bishops, not the jurisdictional colleges. By and large, the delegates are the same people they were in 2016, and they had the power to do this then. Hearing the drumbeat of schism and longing for unity, the delegates will hear those voices and vote not to remove the anti-lgbtq language and not to change the structure with the “middle” plan. I fear we will go forward with the status quo, made more punitive, and that many allies will weep as they hold the doors open for us to leave them “in peace.” I hope and pray to be wrong.

  • I am sorry that the Council did not have the courage/ability or whatever it takes to actually make a decision and present one plan. I expected more.

  • And those of us in the LGBTQ community get caught in the middle again! How can I continue to support the United Methodist Church when part of the denomination accepts who I am and part of the denomination does not? That’s the quandary I already live with everyday! Does the church have no integrity?

    • To Nancy Goodloe…yes, the church DOES have some integrity…and that is why some of us prefer to follow the word of God and not rewrite historical teachings to satisfy the changing mores’ of the day!!!

      • Sandra, I think you mean to say there are some of you that prefer to follow bits and pieces of the word of God. “Some of you” often miss the big message and meaning for the little nitpicky parts. Stop choosing to hold some values on a pedestal and ignore the rest of the book.

  • Thank you, Bishop Stanovsky, for the love you typically express.

    My understanding, as a follower of Jesus, was that He accepted and loved all. I support the concept that “all means all.”

    I continue to listen to my friends who take a different view. My heart aches for my friends and family who feel the pain of rejection.

    Hoping for more love and acceptance.

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