CHICAGO – United Methodist bishops were reminded April 29 that the church is watching, waiting and wondering if and how they will lead the denomination into the future.
At the opening of the 2018 April/May meeting of the Council of Bishops at the Hilton Rosemont Hotel in Chicago, President Bruce R. Ough told his fellow bishops that he believes that the church, for the most part, will follow the bishops.
“They will take their cues from this Council and from this meeting of our Council. If we fight and retreat to our various corners and turfs, the church will follow our example and fight,” Bishop Ough said in his presidential address which was also the sermon for the opening worship.
“If we flee and pretend we are not in a truly different place as a global church, the church will follow our example and flee. If we freeze and say it is not our responsibility to guide our people into unchartered territory, the church will follow suit, freeze and miss this transformative moment,” he said.
The bishops of The United Methodist Church are meeting in Chicago from April 29-May 4 to celebrate leadership through the passing of the gavel, certify constitutional amendments and finalize their recommendations to the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference.
The April/May meeting of the Council of Bishops will also hear leadership reports regarding immigration, ecumenical relations, racism, disaster relief and other mission and ministry work around the global denomination.
Using the sermon title ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Bishop Ough preached from the Mark 10:35-52 story of Bartimaeus, a blind beggar sitting by the roadside, who asked Jesus to have mercy on him.
Bishop Ough told the bishops to grab this chance to be a leadership group for the church because “when Jesus asks, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ I pray our response will reflect Bartimaeus’ spirit: heal us, transform us, empower us to move beyond one issue to follow you, O Christ, on the one Way.”
Read the full text of Bishop Ough's message.
The Rev . Dr. Maidstone Mulenga is director of communications for the Council of Bishops.