The Commission on a Way Forward
(COWF) has released a status report
to the UMC Council of Bishops
(COB) as well as the entire United Methodist Church (UMC), updating the church and the leaders on the faithful work of the Commission after four meetings. The update was released as a PDF and video slide show and is intended to be an update on the commissions processes and progress to date – this report has no official recommendations, final results or any direction to the COB and/or the called General Conference in 2019. What it does contain, according to Bishop Lowry, is “a substantial amount of hope – hope that we will find a way to do what many think is unlikely if not impossible, and that’s keep the connection in some form or fashion.”
This [report] represents an immense amount of prayerful work on the part of the members of the Commission on a Way Forward,” writes Bishop Lowry in his latest blog post
. “However else we respond, we should first express our gratitude for the faithful diligence of their efforts. I ask all of us to continue to lift them up on prayer.”
The 32-member commission is accountable to the Council of Bishops, which named the members following a mandate from the 2016 General Conference. The charge from the General Conference was for the bishops to find a way forward and for unity in the UMC on issues related to human sexuality.
In releasing the status report, Bishops David Yemba, Sandra Steiner Ball and Ken Carter - the Commission moderators – hoped that the status report, which is available in video slide show
form would be widely shared electronically, in worship and/or in print.
“We encourage all United Methodists to view this and to use it in worship,” said the moderator bishops. “We encourage you to offer us feedback and prayer.”
“I thought the report offered several nuggets of excellent and hopeful information, especially slides 8 to 15,” commented Vance Morton, director of Communications & IT for the Central Texas Conference. “Though to be honest, I had to read through it a couple of times before I really began to grasp what the commission was trying to share. I recommend that everyone take the time to read Bishop Lowry’s latest blog as he provides some fantastic context and back story that might be missing for folks who haven’t been living in this subject as closely as the COB and the Way Forward Commission.” Visit bishopmikelowry.com to read Bishop Lowry’s thoughts and impressions on the COWF’s status report.
The Commission has five more meetings to complete, with two of the meetings coming prior to the November meeting of the Council of Bishops.
The final report will be issued to the Council of Bishops, who will then present the report to the 2019 Special Session of General Conference for action.
For more information on the Commission on a Way Forward, visit umc.org/wayforward