The special session of General Conference – scheduled for Feb. 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis – has preoccupied the thoughts, prayers and ministries of many United Methodists. The information shared by all sides in the dialogue over human sexuality can be confusing because of the volume of material and the intricacies of each position.
To help the 220,000 people in our Great Plains Conference churches better understand the issues on all sides and to help maintain our focus on the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. convened the Forward in Unity Process Team. This group of clergy and lay people from across the conference has met several times to discuss ways of ensuring the information related to the special session of General Conference is shared in ways that maintain a collaborative atmosphere and that allow space for the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us all.
The materials shared on these pages are not an endorsement of any single position. Rather, the materials shared on this page are meant to foster deep contemplation, consideration for the people on all sides in this debate and to help everyone treat each other with respect.
Just as the Commission on Way Forward started with prayer, Bible study and reflection, the people of the Great Plains are encouraged to do the same as they contemplate the topics surrounding human sexuality and the people any decision from the General Conference will impact.
Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, who serves as the presiding United Methodist bishop in Germany, shared a reflection on Galatians 6 with the Commission on a Way Forward at its meeting April 8, 2017, in Washington, D.C.
The reflection raises the question of how do we "carry one another's burdens"? The bishop includes in her reflection the thoughts of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book "Life Together" and the apostle Paul's personal touch in telling the Galatians that he wants them to place a high priority on love.
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr. has been traveling across the Great Plains Conference to lead town hall meetings meant to educate United Methodists in Kansas and Nebraska on the three plans we know will be introduced at the special session of General Conference from Feb. 23 to 26, 2019, in St. Louis.
Download the bishop’s PowerPoint either to scroll through the slide show or to read the notes to gain a deeper understanding.
A video of the bishop’s presentation will be posted to the website later in November, after the final town hall meeting takes place Nov. 17.
In his sermon “Catholic Spirit,” John Wesley describes a person with the catholic spirit as one with firm convictions, yet reaching out his or her hand to all fellow Christians who may disagree on certain “opinions,” as Wesley referred to them. Read the sermon here.