A Message from Sr. Pastor, Rev. Jim Bass
Tue, June 12, 2018
ANNUAL CONFERENCE UPDATE
I want to give you a brief update from Annual Conference since I was on vacation right after conference ended. Annual Conference is always a good time to reconnect with friends serving in other parts of the conference, but there were some notable votes taken I want to share with you.
Some of you know about the ongoing division in the general church regarding human sexuality and marriage. Some want to change the church’s teaching about homosexuality and the definition of marriage, while many others want to retain our church’s historic and biblical teaching. These divisions have been growing more intense in the past few years. The previous General Conference in 2016 voted on a commission to bring back recommendations to a special session of the General Conference in hopes the church can reach a resolution. The Council of Bishops has called that special session for February 23-26, 2019. The Commission on the Way Forward has finished its work and submitted it to the Council of Bishops. The Council has made a recommendation and is preparing to release the full report by July 8.
I share all of this with you now partly as an introduction to what happened at Annual Conference. A resolution came to the floor of the conference recommending that the General Conference remove all restrictive language in The Book of Discipline (our church governing rules) for the ordination of LGBTQ persons and allow United Methodist clergy to perform marriages for same-sex couples, which is currently prohibited. The Texas Annual Conference is a theologically conservative conference and the delegates defeated the resolution by a 2 to 1 margin.
In his episcopal address, Bishop Jones addressed the current division in the church regarding these matters, but more importantly, he urged us to keep focused on our mission as a church to make disciples of Jesus Christ. He told us to “keep the main thing the main thing.” Bishop Jones also urged us to “pray our way forward” as the special session of General Conference approaches.
Here is a link to opening worship service where Bishop Jones spoke. His episcopal address begins at 53:20 into the service.
We are entering a difficult time in the life of the United Methodist Church that will test our connection and may fundamentally change it. Bishop Jones has often said that we will need to look at new forms of unity. In the coming weeks and months, I will share much more about the issues and my perspective on them in a series of blogs after the Bishop’s report is made public. I will also plan some discussion opportunities in the fall as the special session of the General Conference draws closer.
I invite you to join me in praying our way forward and to keep the main thing, the main thing.
Yours in Christ,