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May 4, 2018

Bishop L. Jonathan Holston, resident bishop of the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, issued this statement following the April 29-May 4, 2018, meeting of the Council of Bishops:

Bishop Holston

Over the past week, the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church met in Chicago and made a decision about what to forward to the called 2019 General Conference.

Using the work of the Commission on a Way Forward, the council is forwarding to the General Conference three possibilities for moving us forward through the impasse on human sexuality. The legislation will offer three plans for the General Conference to consider.

There will be a Traditional Plan, a One Church Plan, and a Connectional Conference Plan. All three models received significant support within the Council of Bishops, with the One Church Plan being recommended as a preference. The legislation itself will be available for the whole church to see once it is translated into all of the official languages of the General Conference.

In this time of uncertainty and anxiety, it is important to remember that the General Conference of the United Methodist Church is the only body that can speak for the denomination and make changes to The Book of Discipline. The task before the General Conference is challenging and the delegates will need our fervent prayers as they prepare to act on the legislation before them.

As we enter this season of discernment and debate, I invite you to remember these things:

  • Prayer is our first and best response to what is before us. Let us continue to earnestly seek God’s will in this matter.
  • Let us engage in our discussions, conversations and debates in ways that bring honor to God and allow the fruit of the Spirit to be visible in our lives.
  • Let us practice our Three Simple Rules: to do all the good we can, to do no harm, and to stay in love with God.

Finally, the decisions to be made at the called 2019 General Conference might impact our local churches, districts, annual conference and denomination. And still, as these matters are being considered, there are persons in each and every community who need to know the saving love of Jesus Christ and who need a relationship with God’s people, the Body of Christ.

We have much work to do in South Carolina for the kingdom of God. Let us not grow weary in our good work.

Grace and Peace,

L. Jonathan Holston

Click here to read the Council of Bishops’ statement regarding Way Forward legislation for the 2019 General Conference


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