Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, released this statement regarding the announcement of a proposal to split the church:
On Friday, an independent mediation team – comprised of eight bishops and eight representatives from advocacy groups – announced a proposal for the separation of The United Methodist Church that it intends to introduce to the 2020 General Conference. This “Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation” is one of several proposals that have been prepared for consideration by the General Conference.
It is important to remember that the General Conference is the only body that can speak for the denomination and make changes to The Book of Discipline.
At this point, no decisions have been made and none will be made until the General Conference meets May 5-15 in Minneapolis.
During this season of discernment and debate, I ask you to join me in prayer for the delegates to the General Conference who have been elected to make decisions about the future mission and ministry of The United Methodist Church.
Keeping focused on our mission – making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world – must remain our priority. There are people who do not yet know the grace, love and mercy found through relationship with Jesus Christ, and we are called to share this good news.
As we enter this new year and new decade, I invite you to:
- Pray as your first and best response and continue to earnestly seek God’s will in your life.
- Engage in discussions, conversations and debates in ways that honor God and allow the fruit of the Spirit to be made known. It is of vital importance to be willing to listen to others who may or may not agree with you.
- Practice the Three Simple Rules: to do all the good you can, to do no harm, and to stay in love with God.
May we carry on God’s good work here in South Carolina with the love that always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Grace and Peace,
L. Jonathan Holston