I’ve just returned home to Fort Worth after spending a week with my fellow bishops of the United Methodist Church at the twice-yearly Council of Bishops meeting. The meeting, which began with a memorial worship service on Sunday, Nov. 4, was held at St. Simon’s Island Methodist Retreat Center in Georgia. The first half of the week was a meeting of the entire Council of Bishops (both active and retired bishops), while the second half of the week involved a learning retreat for active bishops led by Dean Jan Love from Candler School of Theology and Dr. Greg Ellison of the Fearless Dialogues team. The below is a summary of the actions taken by the COB as offered to the whole church via the official Council of Bishops press release. SIMON’S ISLAND, GA. - The Council of Bishops ended its November 2018 meeting by taking the following actions among other decisions:
- Released a Narrative of Our Leadership, describing the work that bishops have done since 2016 and leading up to the 2019 Special Session of General Conference.
- Adopted a statement from the Ebony Bishops, calling on the church to take a stance against racism and white privilege in the United States.
- Affirmed Global AIDS Day, and asked bishops to promote the advance special for United Methodist Global AIDS Fund (Advance #982345) and find ways to promote World AIDS Day which is Dec 1.
- Approved replacements to fill gap on the General Conference committees for the 2019 Special Session to be held in February.
- Approved creating a writing team to pen a pastoral letter to the global LGBTQ+ community.
- Approved a statement from the Immigration Task Force regarding Central American Migrant Caravans, calling on governments to treat these migrants in ways that recognize and respect their God-given humanity with compassion and dignity.
- Affirmed COB President Bishop Ken Carter as the preacher for the opening worship service at the 2019 General Conference.
- Approved a proposal from the Connectional Table and United Methodist Communications to reword the language of the Four Areas of Focus.