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 (currently summarized in 3 loose “sketches”).
We have scheduled four listening sessions throughout the Conference:
- February 18th – Western Hills UMC-El Paso at 3 pm
- March 4th – FUMC-Odessa at 3 pm
- March 18th – FUMC-Clovis at 3 pm
- April 22nd – Central UMC-ABQ at 3 pm
Our objective will be to share information about the process, learn more about the “sketches”, discuss together and with our delegates where are values, hopes, and fears lie as a Conference. Our delegates will vote on our behalf at the special called 2019 General Conference.Bishop Bledsoe's Way Forward Invitation
The Three “Sketches”:
- #1 – Affirms the current Book of Discipline language and places a high value on accountability.
- #2 – Removes restrictive language and places a high value on contextualization. This sketch also specifically protects the rights of those whose conscience will not allow them to perform same gender weddings or ordain LGBTQ persons.
- #3 – Is grounded in a unified core that includes shared doctrine and services and one COB, while also creating different branches that have clearly defined values such as accountability, contextualization and justice.
Questions to be addressed at the Listening Sessions:
- What are your fears with respect to the current impasse in the Church?
- For you (personally), what are your most important values and convictions in seeking a way forward for The United Methodist Church?
- What implications might there be for your local congregation under each of the three sketches?
- What are your hopes with respect to the Way Forward?
NM Conference Delegation:
- 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
For the latest updates on the work of the Commission, click here.
The Commission used the book: The Anatomy of Peace to frame their conversations.