Bishops offer pastoral word; make key decisions at May 2019 meeting
May 9, 2019
CHICAGO – The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church completed its May 2019 meeting held outside Chicago with a pastoral and prophetic word in response to the decisions of the Special Session and the codification of some of those decisions in the Book of Discipline.
“Bishops are not judges or legislators. Bishops are preachers, teachers, shepherds, mediators, and missional strategists who appoint clergy and lead annual conferences to make disciples for the transformation of the world,” the statement said. “We offer this reflection as an expression of our pastoral and prophetic witness. The prophetic gift to our church calls for a confession of the harm that has been done, an acknowledgement of grief and support of a vision of God’s promise to do a new thing (Isaiah 43).”
During the May 4-9 meeting, the bishops’ conversation was focused on the following questions:
How can we place hope at the center of our life and work?
The bishops prayed, met in covenant groups, received Holy Communion, experienced examen in the Ignatian tradition, and renewed their baptismal vows.
The bishops of the UMC took the following actions during their meeting:
Clarification on Special Session’s decisions: The bishops voted to request a declaratory decision from the Judicial Council as to the constitutionality and the meaning, application and effect of certain legislation enacted by the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference in
February this year. This request will be sent to the Judicial Council before the July 15th deadline.Investigations into allegations of voter irregularities: The bishops received an update on the request from the Executive Committee to the Commission on the General Conference about an independent investigation into voter irregularities.
Formation of a Servant Listening Team: The bishops named a Servant Listening Team that will accompany conversations across the church about future models of structural unity and differentiation across the connection. The team will be convened by Bishop Carter and Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey. The other members of the team are Bishop Rudy Juan, Bishop Hee-Soo Jung, Bishop Bill McAlilly, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, Bishop Bruce Ough, Bishop Harald R? ckert, Bishop Elaine Stanovsky, Bishop James Swanson and Bishop John Yambasu.
Standing Committee on U.S. Matters: The Bishops approved a motion to collaborate with the Connectional Table on proposed legislation to General Conference 2020 for the formation of a Standing Committee on U.S. Matters, comparable to the existing Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters.
Resolution for full communion with Episcopal Church: The bishops have authorized the submission of legislation to General Conference 2020 to enact a full communion relationship between The United Methodist Church and The Episcopal Church.
Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Conference Center – 1505 SW 18th Avenue – Portland, Oregon, 97201-2524 503-226-7931 or 1-800-JWesley (800-593-7539)