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. Our delegates will vote on our behalf at the special called 2019 General Conference.

As the work of the Commission on a Way Forward  & the COB progresses, there will be changes until the Special Called Conference in 2019.  The COB received the Commission on a Way Forward’s first report, which suggested three sketches.  The second report in February contained two suggested models.

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.

Two Models:

Click for details.

ONE CHURCH MODEL

  • The One Church Model gives churches the room they need to maximize the presence of United Methodist witness in as many places in the world as possible. The One Church Model provides a generous unity that 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 United Methodist Church.

MULTI-BRANCH: ONE CHURCH MODEL

  • This model is grounded in a unified core that includes shared doctrine and services and one Council of Bishops, while also creating different branches that have clearly defined values such as accountability, contextualization and justice. 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). Annual conferences would decide which connectional conference to affiliate with; only local churches who choose a branch other than the one chosen by their annual conference would vote to join another conference.
The Window - Context for the Questions

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

For the latest updates on the work of the Commission, click here.

Praying Our Way Forward

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