A Way Forward

Our denomination is facing uncertain times as we struggle through debates over human sexuality – essentially how and whether we are going to include LGBTQ persons in ministry and the life of the church and how and whether we might maintain unity in the face of such diverse options, preferences, and practices.

The task of navigating us through this time has been taken up by our Council of Bishops(CoB) and a specially appointed Commission on a Way Forward.  While the Commission continues their work, the CoB has asked annual conferences to foster “listening sessions” for preliminary feedback on the proposed way forward, which the NM Conference hosted in February – April, 2018. Our delegates will vote on our behalf at the Special Called 2019 General Conference.

The COB received the Commission on a Way Forward’s first report, which suggested three sketches.  The COBs drafted their recommendation in May to support the One Church Plan, which was translated into all the languages represented by the Journal.  In May, the UMC Judicial Council ruled that other petitions — in addition to legislation from the COB’s — could be submitted for the 2019 Special Called Session. In October, the Judicial Council will decide whether any of the Way Forward petitions run afoul of the denomination’s constitution.  All delegates to the Special Called Session will meet in October and the COB’s is scheduled to meet in November to review and update.  Special General Conference will be February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis.

Videos from the ABQ Way Forward Listening Session:


The Three Plans: The Traditional Plan, the One Church Plan and Connectional Conference Plan and other pieces of legislation in “harmony” with the Call will be debated and voted on by 864 delegates from around the globe in February, 2019.


  • Traditional Plan – Affirms the current Book of Discipline language and places a high value on accountability.
  • One Church Plan  – Gives churches the room they need to maximize the presence of United Methodist witness in as many places in the world as possible. It gives conferences, churches, and pastors the flexibility to uniquely reach their missional context in relation to human sexuality without changing the connectional nature of The UMC.
  • Connectional Conference Plan -The five U.S. jurisdictions would be replaced by three connectional conferences, each covering the whole country, based on theology and perspective on LGBTQ ministry (i.e. progressive, contextual, traditional branches).

Table Outlines the impact of each plan on the local church, clergy, conferences, etc.: Overview Table of Three Plans

Discipleship Ministries Courageous Conversations Project
Courageous Conversations is a toolbox that local churches can use to inspire and encourage the church to participate in conversations that might seem difficult. Many in our churches are hesitant to engage in such conversations, often viewing them as pointless since “we won’t convince anyone to change their opinions” or are fearful of causing further harm to relationships. However, with careful planning and structured dialogue, the aim of Courageous Conversations is learning. Click for more.

NM Conference Delegation:  You may email the delegates directly: delegation@nmconfum.com.

  • Rev. Eddie Rivera, General Conference Delegate & Chair
  • Sid Strebeck, General Conference Delegate
  • Susan Brumbaugh, Jurisdictional Conference Delegate
  • Rev. Scott Sharp, Jurisdictional Conference Delegate
  • Chelsea Calderon – Alternate
  • Mary Bell Haney – Alternate
  • Rev. Todd Salzwedel – Alternate
  • Rev. Jane Vaughan – Alternate
COWF Handbook 2017

Click for NM Conference Way Forward Updates

Click for the latest news

Praying Our Way Forward

The Commission used the book: The Anatomy of Peace to frame their conversations.