The Commission on a Way Forward (Newsletter Fall 2016)

By Gary Shephard    
General Conference 2016 is in the rearview mirror. However, for an issue extremely important to many of us, we
won’t have to wait until GC 2020 to see what’s next.

On the second Wednesday of GC 2016, the Council of Bishops made a proposal. They would form a special
commission, to be known as the Commission on a Way Forward. This commission would have as its goal to propose
how the church could move forward on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. Including in this proposal
was a request that trials of LGBTQI and LGBTQI supporting clergy be curtailed (but not eliminated). It also tabled
all petitions that had made it out of committee.

Read more: The Commission on a Way Forward (Newsletter Fall 2016)

Judicial Council Meets; A Pastoral Response

Bishop Karen Oliveto, Mountain Sky AreaThe Judicial Council of the UMC met in Newark, New Jersey, April 25-28, 2017, and has issued its rulings. Here are links about the meeting:

UMNS Story about the hearing held Tuesday, April 25. Key Briefs are linked.

Affirmation was present! A statement about the hearing and subsequent ruling will be in the upcoming newsletter, due out soon.

Read more: Judicial Council Meets; A Pastoral Response

Rev. Cynthia Meyer Agrees to Involuntary Leave

Rev. Cynthia MeyerA trial of Rev. Cynthia Meyer has been averted. A resolution (we won't call it "just") has been reached, whereby Rev. Meyers, an openly lesbian pastor, has agreed to accept "involuntary leave" from her United Methodist clergy career until after the 2018 General Conference. This Conference is being planned to receive recommendations from a new commission being formed by the Council of Bishops to address all matters of sexuality in the Book of Discipline and plan a way forward, presumably for those who will not agree to the recommendations as approved at that time.

Read more: Rev. Cynthia Meyer Agrees to Involuntary Leave

You're Invited to "Rise Up!"

Western Methodist Justice Movement Rise Up! logoYou are invited to A WMJM Conference:

Presidents Day Weekend 2017
Sheraton Airport Hotel, Portland, OR

Come be inspired and strengthened in mind and soul, for the work of Justice in the world!

Consider how justice issues and movements intersect each other with intercultural, multidisciplinary processes.

Beth Zemsky will lead the main part of the weekend, which will focus on building our movement of people who are passionate about justice in a lot of different areas. Beth has the ability to help people think intersectionally and will help move us to a new competence in intersectionality to strengthen our movement.

Bishop Karen Oliveto, the newest Western Jurisdiction Bishop, will help focus our hearts, spirits and commitments with her compelling preaching. Visit for much more detail--and registration!

Affirmation Affirms Election of First Gay Bishop

The Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto, senior pastor of Glide UMC, was elected bishop at the Western Jurisdiction Conference meeting in Phoenix Friday, July 15. Karen is the first openly lesbian bishop to be elected in the denomination. She was elected on the 17th ballot, after all the other candidates withdrew with inspiring and moving speeches.

Read more: Affirmation Affirms Election of First Gay Bishop

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