JOIN US IN PRAYER
Praying Our Way Forward
We are one in Christ
Letter from Harriett Jane Olson
I am pleased to invite you into a special work of prayer for our Church.
The 2016 General Conference asked the Council of Bishops to take up the challenge of offering leadership to our church at this critical time when talk of schism and the nature of our unity is in the air. The Bishops offered a proposal to form a Commission on the Way Forward, which is now in place. The mission that has been developed for the Commission expresses the intention to "bring together persons deeply committed to the future(s) of The United Methodist Church, with an openness to developing new relationships with each other and exploring the potential future(s) of our denomination." Bishop Ken Carter, Bishop Sandra Steiner-Ball and Bishop David Yemba will convene the Commission, consisting of an additional 32 persons. They will be considering the legislation from the 2016 General Conference and the language in The Book of Discipline that deals with homosexuality as well as looking at new ways of expressing connection.
I am inviting United Methodist Women to join our bishops, The Upper Room, United Methodist Men to hold this work, and these 35 people in prayer. Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett and Bishop Al Gwinn have led an effort to assign conferences a specific week during the next 18 months to pray for the Commission and its work. Find the scheduled prayer weeks for your Conference at www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/POWFschedule. Each week also has a suggested prayer focus on spiritual resources the Commission members will need. Please share this invitation to prayer throughout our membership. You might include this as you pray with the Prayer Calendar each day or in your local, district and conference meetings, and spiritual growth events.
The list of Commission members is posted at umc.org. You may want to pray for each member by name and you may also want to let them know that they are in your prayers.
Council of Bishops is preparing a plan to conduct additional and complementary work in annual conferences designed to broaden the conversation with hundreds of lay and clergy members. Please include these processes in your prayers as well. The Commission will have the benefit of a variety of presentations and bring its members' own wisdom and life experience to the work. These sessions have the potential to bring additional insights and clarity. You and other members of United Methodist Women in your conference have wisdom to offer and you have worked on speaking about this as part of our mission study on The Bible and Human Sexuality. I ask you to consider what you could bring to these conversations "at such a time as this." It will also be important for the Commission and the Council to hear from youth and young people in this way. United Methodist Women can ensure that our younger members and other young people are heard.
Finally, let's remember that our God is in the business of using imperfect vessels to do kin-dom work. Each of us individually and as members of the community of faith strive to grow spiritually so that we can be both faithful to our calling and fruitful in God's mission in the world. May this be a time of profound spiritual growth for the members of the Council, and the Commission and for all of us as we seek God's will for The United Methodist Church.
Thank you sisters, for responding to this call to be about the work of prayer and powerful conversation.