Mission and the Way Forward in the Season after the Epiphany

The moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward (COWF) are urging all United Methodists to engage in a time of reflection on missions in the UMC. Specifically, they are asking us to reflect upon where each of us sees mission at the heart of the denomination as well as how it is significant for resolving conflict. The following statement is from the COWF Moderator Bishops David Yemba, Sandra Steiner Ball and Ken Carter. I commend it for careful attention and prayerful reflection. Bishop Mike Lowry At the conclusion of the recent meeting of the Commission on a Way Forward, the members were asked to share three words that expressed their prayer for the church in the present moment. The 32 persons reflect the global nature of the church and a profound diversity of gender, age, theological perspective. They are laity, deacons, elders and bishops. The three words each shared then helped to create a word cloud. The more often a word is named, the larger it becomes in the word cloud (picture). The result can be viewed online as well as on the image to the right. In the Mission, Vision and Scope given to the Commission by the Council of Bishops, we are seeking to “design a way for being church that maximizes the presence of a United Methodist witness in as many places in the world as possible.” This vision is deeply rooted in the movement of the gospel from a small village in Bethlehem to the ends of the earth. The revelation of the Christ to the Magi (the gentiles) in Matthew 2 signals the church’s calling to share the good news with all people. At our best, this has been the vocation of a missionary church and is the root of a global church, where we are sent “from everywhere to everywhere” in the name of Jesus. For reflection:
  • What does it mean that the commission sees “mission” at the heart of the way forward for our denomination?
  • Could it be that we discover our unity as we are in mission together?
  • What if mission became the primary framework for our work in resolving conflict?
  • How are we called to be in mission together more fully with our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community?
  • And what three words would express your prayer for the church in the present moment?
Bishops David Yemba, Sandra Steiner Ball, and Ken Carter Moderator Team of the Commission on a Way Forward
About the Commission: The 32-member Commission on a Way Forward was appointed by the Council of Bishops to assist the bishops in their charge from the 2016 General Conference to lead the church forward amid the present impasse related to LGBTQ inclusion and resulting questions about the unity of the church.