October 01, 2017

Over the last six months, individuals, clergy, Bishops and Annual Conferences have signed up to be in prayer for The Way Forward Commission of The United Methodist Church. This movement, initiated by the Council of Bishops, calls clergy, laity, congregations and conferences across the denomination to pray for God’s Spirit and guidance in effectively fulfilling the mission of the church through The United Methodist Church.

The Missouri Annual Conference signed-up for prayer during the week of September 17 through September 23. I kicked off that week of prayer with a prayer and meditation video that can be used in any church during the rest of the year. If you did not sign up to pray that week, you can still pray for our Way Forward. The Council of Bishops and the Commission will be working on the plans for how the church can move forward through our differences on human sexuality. It is our hope to see a plan draft in November; and a more complete plan by the Spring 2018 Council of Bishop’s meeting, so we might have possibilities to discuss at our Annual Conference.

I personally ask for your prayers and patience while we move through the process. As we draw closer to our time of discernment and discussion of our Way Forward on human sexuality, please remember the comment I made at our Annual Conference Session this year, “I could be wrong.” Anytime we have a group conversation about this, please start with, “I could be wrong.” Let us all humble ourselves and remember “I could be wrong.” My goal, as your Bishop, is to keep us focused on the mission of “making disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world” and to begin to lean into our new conference vision of “relentlessly leading our churches to become outwardly focused and spiritually centered Christ followers.”

As we move forward might we remember Paul’s quote in the Book of Romans.

“We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him and those called according to God’s purpose.” Romans 8:28.

In the coming months, may you and your church strive to reach people outside our walls who do not know that God desperately loves them. May we help those who are already among the community of followers to grow more spiritually centered on Christ and in love toward each other.

P.S. Friends, I ask that you please continue to pray for those who are still recovering from hurricanes.