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Bishop Jonathon Holston

Bishop Jonathon Holston

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

During this past week, United Methodists around the nation gathered in five jurisdictional conferences to elect new episcopal leaders.  The Western Jurisdiction yesterday elected Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto, a self-avowed, practicing homosexual, to the episcopacy.  The South Central Jurisdiction was still in session when this occurred and has asked the Judicial Council to rule on this election.  The Council of Bishops has issued a statement regarding this election that you can read in full below.

At the beginning of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, the Southeastern College of Bishops issued a pastoral letter that included these words:

“We the Southeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishop’s grieve over the deep divisions in our beloved United Methodist Church.   We recognize the pain felt both by those advocating for and those opposing change. We also view the acts of nonconformity as a violation of our covenant and as divisive and disruptive. As a College of Bishops, we are fully committed to keeping the promises we made at our ordinations and consecrations, including:

• shepherding all persons committed to our care;

• leading our areas in mission, witness and service;

• ordering the church, including administering processes for handling complaints about violations of our Book of Discipline that occur within our episcopal areas;

• and seeking unity in Christ, including the work the General Conference  requested the Council of Bishops do in relation to the Commission on Human Sexuality.

We invite you to join us in prayer as we strive to faithfully and compassionately fulfill our covenant with God, the church and one another. We also encourage you to stay the course in your covenant relationship with God, The United Methodist Church and each other.”

As United Methodists in South Carolina and around the world move into an uncertain future, I ask you to continue in prayer for Bishops, Judicial Council members and others giving leadership at this critical time.  I encourage you to be leaders in compassionate listening, gentle speech, and prayerful discernment as you engage your communities in the faithful and life-giving ministry of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  Let us remember that God is with us in the midst of our deep divisions and will guide and direct us into a preferred future as we earnestly seek God’s will for God’s church going forward.

Grace and Peace.

L. Jonathan Holston

Read the Council of Bishop’s statement here.

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