This is an informational meeting only to learn more about how our denomination, The United Methodist Church, makes decisions in general, but also, and even more specifically, the process for how we will or will not include LGBTQ persons in our churches. The meeting will be led by Pastor Byron’s father, retired pastor, Rev. Byron P. Brought.
For several decades, the UMC has been at an impasse when it comes to the issue of full inclusion of LGBTQ persons in the life of our church. Though we are of one body, the Body of Christ, we are clearly not of one voice on this subject. Conservative, progressive, and moderate voices all find a home within our denomination partly because we do share so much in common. On the issues of same-sex unions and the ordination of LGBTQ persons, we find it harder and harder to find common ground.
At the 2016 General Conference, the Commission on a Way Forward was created to help the Council of Bishops develop a path that would help us move forward on these issues, all while holding fast to our greater mission to make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world (the mission statement of the UMC). The Commission on a Way Forward developed three models for the future of the UMC:
The “Traditional” model
The “Connectional Conference” model
The “One Church” model
The Council of Bishops has overwhelmingly endorsed the “One Church” model and will be recommending that model for the special 2019 General Conference to be held next February. The General Conference is the highest legislative body of the UMC. It’s the only body that speaks for our denomination.
During the month of July, we’ll be sharing some resources on our webpage to help keep you informed. In addition to this, we welcome one-on-one conversations with you. Also, on Tuesday July 17th, at 7:00 pm, I’ve invited my father, Rev. Byron P. Brought, a now retired UM pastor of over 40 years, to lead us in an informational session to better understand how the UMC makes decisions, what the three models are, and what’s at stake in the next General Conference. You’re invited to come. You’re invited to stay informed, and you’re invited to hold one another in prayer.
In the meantime, I’d like for you to consider watching two videos, from the Rev. Tom Berlin, which I find to be extremely helpful resources to help frame the discussion. The first video is approximately 20 minutes long; the second, from this year’s Annual Conference, is approximately an hour.
Grace and peace,