The General Conference (GC) of the United Methodist Church meets every four years. Among other roles, the GC serves as the legislative branch of the church. GC will meet in May of this year in Minneapolis.
Among the proposals the GC will consider are issues related to a separation in the church and the long-standing debate over human sexuality.
On Jan. 3, 2020, a new proposal was released to the secular press including local newspapers, television stations and national outlets and news feeds. Much of this information was either misleading or outright incorrect.
The following is a statement from Texas Conference Bishop Scott Jones dated January 3, 2020:
The ‘Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation’ is a significant contribution to the ongoing discussions about human sexuality in The United Methodist Church. The 16 signatories are to be commended for their hard work and faithful effort to resolve our Church’s deep division on the practice of homosexuality.
I, along with many other persons, have called for deeper conversations about how to avoid the bitter debates in our church and once again re-focus our time, energy and effort on the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ. This protocol offers significant hope for an amicable solution.
However, it should be emphasized that a statement by 16 leaders does not necessarily mean that its provisions will be adopted. The Protocol itself says it was developed in service to the General Conference delegates who will decide on its adoption or amendment. Other plans may well be considered as alternatives. Significant questions remain to be answered about the Protocol’s implementation. The Judicial Council will need to rule on its constitutionality. The feasibility of its financial provisions must also be evaluated.
United Methodists should welcome this contribution to our dialogue and continue praying for the right way to strengthen our Wesleyan service to Christ.