The following is a summary concerning the work of the Commission on a Way Forward and our response as a local church including prayer. You will receive updates in the weeks and months ahead as more information is available
- Pastor Doug.
Discerning the Way Forward
The United Methodist Church stands at a crossroads. The Mountain Sky Area of the UMC (Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone conferences) recently appointed Karen Oliveto, an openly gay minister from California, as Bishop. Differing opinions about this appointment, in addition to the growing movement of other denominations to be more inclusive of the LGBTQ community, has led the hierarchy of the church to set in motion the process for a formal evaluation of The United Methodist Church’s stance on homosexuality. We stand at a crossroads, but we are not in crisis. You may have heard that the Methodist church is going to “split”, but there has been no such movement in that direction. The Commission on a Way Forward, created by the 2016 General Conference of the UMC, is working to develop what they discern to be God’s plan for the United Methodist Church. There have been no final plans to date, but it appears that there will be a called General Conference in February of 2019 to act on the recommendations that have been developed by the Commission. To date, there have been some preliminary indications of the options that will be proposed, but the recommendations will not be finalized until later this spring, and nothing will officially change until 2019.
So what does this mean for Rutherford Memorial, and how should we proceed? First, the entire church body should recognize that the crossroads exists. We need to know that there is a high probability that there will be changes in the UMC Book of Discipline. Second, we as individuals should track the progress in the deliberations of the Commission on a Way Forward. The best way to get to this information is not the national press or even the United Methodist website. The most up-to-date information is to be found by typing “Commission on a Way Forward” in Google and clicking on entries there. There are also several useful articles at www.um-insight.net. Third, when the time is right, we need to meet as a church to understand the proposed recommendations of the Commission on a Way Forward (when they are issued) and to consider how this will impact Rutherford Memorial. Finally, we need to assure that we hold the Commission, the UMC and RMUMC in our prayers. We must always keep in mind the core ideas behind our shared beliefs and keep these prominent in our discussions and prayers. God’s will always prevail in the long run. We just need to make sure that our discussions and directions are not an impediment to His will for our denomination and our church.
If you would like more information on this topic, or would like to help organize discussions and/or meetings in the coming months, please contact Stephani McCarty at firstname.lastname@example.org.