THE FUTURE OF THE UNITED METHODIST CHUCH: DIVERSE LEADERS’ GROUP OFFERS SEPARATION PLAN
A diverse, 16-member group of United Methodist bishops and other leaders has offered a proposal that would preserve The United Methodist Church while allowing traditionalist-minded congregations to form a new denomination. The separating group would get $25 million in United Methodist funds and would keep its local church properties. Details are in a nine-page “Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation,” released Jan. 3 along with an FAQ and press release. The proposal requires approval by the 2020 General Conference. Drafting of legislation is still underway for the legislative assembly, which is the only body that speaks for the 13 million global denomination. But given the broad, influential coalition involved — including bishops from around the global connection and advocacy group leaders often sharply at odds — the potential seems strong that the separation proposal can end or at least greatly reduce the denomination’s decades-long struggle over how accepting to be of homosexuality. For information on this plan, check out: The Commission on a Way Forward has released its final report on human sexuality. This report will be presented to a called session of our denominational General Conference scheduled for February 23-26, 2019. The report presents three possible ways forward for our denomination relative to its stance on homosexuality. The first way forward, and the one recommended by our bishops, is the One Church Plan. This plan is the simplest of the three plans. It removes prohibitions against homosexual ordination and marriage and inserts protections for those whose consciences will not allow either. The second way forward, and the most complex, is the Connectional Conference Plan. This plan creates three different connectional conferences, each defined largely by a particular position on homosexuality, and requires clergy, churches, and annual conferences to align with their preferred connectional conference. The final way forward is the Traditional Plan. This plan maintains the denomination’s current position on homosexuality while closing loopholes that may permit defiance of that position. It also seeks to strengthen accountability among bishops and boards of ordained ministry to ensure their compliance with the plan while creating a pathway for dissenters to exit the denomination. You are encouraged to read the entire report at the following website: http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/way-forward -report-released-in-all-four-official-languages-of-general-confe.
CHURCH COUNCIL CERTIFIES CHURCH CONFERENCE VOTE: The Church Council met following worship on August 18 and certified the result of our recent Church Conference which was called to vote on a new statement of welcome and inclusion. The Council certifies that the statement was defeated by a narrow margin. A letter containing full details was emailed to all. Hard copies of this letter are available in the church office and on the welcome desk in the church narthex. The Church Council is grateful to all who participated in this process and encourage all members and constituents to remember our common bond in Christ as we move forward...together...in loving God, neighbor, and one another, in obedience to Christ's command
MOUNTAIN VIEW WAY FORWARD
“CONSTRUCTIVE CONVERSATION” SESSIONS
The Mountain View Way Forward Task Force has received the report of the Commission on a Way Forward and continues to monitor denominational actions with an eye to their impact on our congregation. Task Force is planning a series of “Constructive Conversation” sessions to be held over the next 4 weeks. These sessions will seek to create a safe place for members to discuss the issue of homosexuality in light of church teaching and denominational actions. The sessions will not seek to persuade persons to adopt a particular opinion on the matter, but will rather endeavor to promote unity over uniformity and understanding over agreement. You can expect to discuss the importance of church unity, issues of biblical interpretation as they apply to human sexuality, current views regarding sexuality, the Commission on a Way Forward report, and other denominational developments. Sessions will be held during the Sunday school hour beginning October 21st and continuing through November 11th. Sessions will be repeated each week on a weeknight for those unable to attend the Sunday morning sessions.
The Mountain View Fellowship Unity Promise For Our Way Forward
Given that thoughtful and well-meaning people steeped in the Christian Faith sometimes understand and promulgate Christianity with deep conviction in different tones and emphases that can create disagreements or divisions, I promise to do my best to practice the following guidelines in and out of gathered discussions at Mountain View United Methodist Church in order to foster unity and understanding: Prayerfully:
• I promise to pray for a successful Way Forward for the United Methodist Church and Mountain View United Methodist Church that lovingly unifies factions and entities.
In Discussion and Interpersonal or Group Exchange:
• I promise to actively and respectively listen to whomever is speaking at any moment, without interruption or prejudgment, but carefully consider the merits of each person’s contribution.
• I promise to articulate as clearly as possible my feelings and understandings, always seeking unity over division, while avoiding speaking in anger, disrespect or unproductive emotional tones.
• I promise to ask clarifying questions or use paraphrasing language when I am in doubt as to what another is saying or wish to more fully understand their contribution.
• I promise to seek fellowship with those with whom I may not completely agree and not retreat to my own bubble or silo of likeminded people.
• I promise to follow the Golden Rule in all discussion and dialogue, treating others as I would want them to treat me.
• I promise to keep our mission, vision, and purpose in mind in all I say or do: To make disciples who love like Jesus, creating a world where God’s love reigns!
SAINT FRANCIS' PRAYER
LORD, MAKE ME AN INSTRUMENT OF THY PEACE;
WHERE THERE IS HATRED LET ME SOW LOVE; WHERE THERE IS INJURY, PARDON; WHERE THERE IS DOUBT, FAITH; WHERE THERE IS DESPAIR, HOPE; WHERE THERE IS DARKNESS, LIGHT; AND WHERE THERE IS SADNESS, JOY. O DIVINE MASTER, GRANT THAT I MAY NOT SO MUCH SEEK TO BE CONSOLED, AS TO CONSOLE; TO BE UNDERSTOOD, AS TO UNDERSTAND; TO BE LOVED, AS TO LOVE; FOR IT IS IN GIVING THAT WE RECEIVE, IT IS IN PARDONING THAT WE ARE PARDONED, AND IT IS IN DYING THAT WE ARE BORN TO ETERNAL LIFE. AMEN