News & Announcements

Bishops uphold values of mission, unity, space, contextuality in interim report on Way Forward work

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. – Placing emphasis on the values of unity, space and contextuality – all for the sake of mission – the Council of Bishops (COB) is exploring sketches of three models as possible directions for a way forward for The United Methodist Church over LGBTQ inclusion.

With the mission of God through the risen Christ at the core, the bishops this week received an interim report from the Commission on a Way Forward that offered three sketches of models that would help ease the impasse in the church, noting that the power of the Holy Spirit trumps and guides all the church’s activities. The Commission serves the COB, helping prepare the COB to fulfill its mandate to make a recommendation for a way forward to the General Conference.

Just as the Commission did not express a preference for any of the models in its interim report to the COB in order for the bishops to fully do their work, the COB is also not now expressing a preference for any model, while engaging deeply with them and the implications for their church and their leadership. This will provide the space bishops need to teach and engage leaders in their episcopal areas.

After receiving the interim report of the sketches of the three possible models, the bishops engaged in prayerful discerning and offered substantial feedback to the Commission, but did not take any vote on any of the sketches.

Read the full article.

An Appeal from Bishop Bledsoe

Dear Friends,  As we continue to follow the unfolding events in Texas with the aftermath and flooding from Hurricane Harvey, I appeal to every local church in the New Mexico and Northwest Texas Annual Conferences to take up a special offering this Sunday to support the disaster relief efforts and what will undoubtedly be a long-term rebuilding exercise.   

I want to encourage pastors and laity alike to prayerfully consider what God would have us do in this time—Leslie and I have already made our contribution to this worthwhile effort and continue to be in daily prayer for the many families affected by the storm.  Sunday’s special offering can be sent to the Conference Office with “Hurricane Harvey” in the memo line and will be passed along to the relief efforts through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). 

I also urge churches to share the online donation portal for UMCOR’s disaster relief efforts through your bulletins, newsletters, and social media (100% of those contributions go directly to support relief efforts):

https://secure3.convio.net/gbgm/site/SPageNavigator/umcor_donate.html?type=1002&project=901670

We are a generous people and, at times like these, we can demonstrate the power of our connection by rallying to support the many needs of our sisters and brothers dealing with this tremendous storm and flooding.  Please continue to be in prayer for those who have been impacted by the storm and the flooding and especially those working to provide relief.  Looking ahead, another appeal for flood buckets, health kits, and (especially) work teams may be forthcoming, but in the meantime, fervent prayers and generous financial contributions are the best way for us to mobilize.

I look forward to seeing many of you in the New Mexico Conference during our Fall Itineration! 

Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe

Statement from Bishop Bledsoe on Judicial Council Decision

Dear Friends,

           By now, most if not all of you have heard about the recent decision of the Judicial Council regarding the nomination, election, assignment and consecration of an openly gay bishop in the Western Jurisdiction. This decision was in response to a request for a declaratory decision by the South Central Jurisdiction, of which we are members. It is the expressed authority of each jurisdiction to elect bishops of the church. There are five jurisdictions within the United States.

            The Judicial Council ruled that the consecration was against church law; however because of jurisdictional authority, stopped short of ruling on the other matters of nomination, election and assignment, pending the completion of an administrative or supervisory complaint process. In the United Methodist Church all clergy are entitled to due process under church law. It is my understanding that there are several complaints in process regarding the actions in the Western Jurisdiction and until that process is complete, no decision can be made.

            I want to ask that all of us remain calm and continue to focus on the mission of the church. Some things are out of our control and hands. We have processes and methods in place to address this issue. We also have a recently appointed Commission that is meeting to present a report in February 2019 to a called session of General Conference to determine a way forward for the church. I hope we will continue to have renewed patience in the midst of our differences and difficulties. The 2016 Book of Discipline has not and did not change regarding the issue of human sexuality. As your assigned bishop, I took a vow at my ordination as clergy and also at my consecration as a bishop to uphold the order and discipline of the church. I intend to do that and keep my commitment with grace and humility. The District Superintendents join me in this commitment to uphold The Discipline. I’m asking each of our clergy, as well, to remember your ordination vows and to continue to lead in a Christ-like manner as we seek a way forward in the church.

            I want to thank all the churches and individuals who committed to pray for the church and ask that you continue to pray for the church. It is through prayer and fasting that we are able to be sustained and nurtured in the midst of adversity.

Grace & Peace,

Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe