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)

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

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

An Open Letter to Bishop Ough

(This letter is in response to Bishop Scott Jones's recent article here, "Blest Be the Tie That Binds.")

Dear Bishop Ough:

For years you have told the clergy of Minnesota to come and converse with you about doing same gender weddings in our churches and in our ministry.  You have told us to stay within the letter of the church law so that you can support us.  You have reminded us that United Methodists do not agree.  You have been a voice for unity.

Read more: An Open Letter to Bishop Ough

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