A Narrative of our Leadership

A Narrative of our Leadership
The Council of Bishops
November 2018

The May 2016 General Conference asked us to provide leadership in discerning a way forward for the church, so that we might fulfill our mission in light of the Great Commission (Matthew 28) and the Great Commandment (Mark 12), which are the scriptural foundations for our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world (Book of Discipline, 120). 

This narrative describes our work since then on behalf of the people we serve. We continue to claim with boldness the words we say at Holy Communion: “Make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world.”

+Ken Carter
President, Council of Bishops

The Narrative

  1.  The Offering of a Way Forward as a Pause for Prayer and as Preparation for the Special General Conference. Click here for details.
  2.  The Composition of the Commission on a Way Forward, the Drafting of the Mission, Vision and Scope and the Preparation of the Final Report to the Called General Conference.

Mission, Vision and Scope the Commission on a Way Forward
Commission on a Way Forward Final Report

  1. The Adoption of the One Church Plan as the plan that best fulfills the Mission, Vision and Scope of the Way Forward.
    Summary of the One Church Plan.
  2. The Decision that All Three Plans would be forwarded to the Called General Conference, so that the delegates to that conference would do their best work, and with the awareness that the values of our global church are present in all three plans.  
  3. The Judicial Council’s Decision in May (#1360) that the report should come from the Commission on a Way Forward and in October about the Constitutionality of the Three Plans (#1366).  In Decision #1366 the Judicial Council saw that it held no jurisdiction on the Connectional Conference Plan, they found three sentences in the One Church Plan, and they found number of petitions in the Traditional Plan to be unconstitutional.
    Judicial Council Decision #1360 on petitions to 2019 Special Session
    Judicial Council Decision #1366 on the three plans
    Bishop Carter’s and Bishop Harvey’s words before the recent Judicial Council
    Council of Bishops’ Response to Judicial Council Decisions
  4. The legislative task is squarely in the hands of the delegates.  The primary role of Bishops lies now in presiding, building unity and offering spiritual leadership to our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  
  5. As Bishops of The United Methodist Church, we declare that:
    Since its beginning, the Methodist movement has discerned God’s will through conferencing. We again trust this General Conference, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to discern God’s best way for our future. The Council of Bishops can best serve the General Conference in this work by
  • Presiding fairly and creating a holy atmosphere in which they can do their best work
  • Trusting that the General Conference will invoke the Holy Spirit
  • Being a prayerful, hopeful, and pastoral presence
  • Giving them confidence that we are acting transparently and not orchestrating or manipulating the process toward a desired end, and
  • Acting as midwives as they birth something new.

Media Contact:

Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga

Director of Communications - Council of Bishops

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(202) 748-5172 (Office)