The United Methodist Council of Bishops met on May 21 following the close of General Conference for worship and prayer for the ongoing unity of The United Methodist Church.
The Saturday meeting was planned prior to presenting "An Offering for a Way Forward" to the 2016 General Conference, but recognizing the importance of moving forward with the proposal, the council utilized the opportunity to discuss the possible framework for forming a commission and identify some of the qualities and characteristics needed among its membership.
Meeting in executive session due to the sensitive nature of the discussion, the council processed the conversations over the previous ten days and identified next steps. The council charged the executive committee with designing the process for forming a commission and creating a timeline for the proposal, recognizing the need to take time to make conscientious decisions yet not delaying the process.
The executive committee agreed to have ongoing conversation and plans to schedule a meeting before the regularly scheduled meeting in July.
The bishops determined that the proposal required further clarity, purpose and vision and agreed to appoint a small group to provide the clarity needed. The council also agreed to form a communication team that will keep the church regularly informed at each step of the process.
Bishop James Swanson Sr. released a message to the Mississippi Conference on the subject.
Having returned from General Conference, there is a lot of speculation about the many conversations that took place pertaining to human sexuality. Due to the various viewpoints at General Conference on this subject matter, the Council of Bishops was asked to lead the church in this human sexuality discussion. In hopes of giving you some points of clarity, I would like to share some highlights from the Council of Bishops' proposal of "An Offering for a Way Forward.