To clergy and laity of the Mississippi Conference:
"Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7
Due to the fretful time that some Mississippi Conference congregations are having concerning The United Methodist Church, the 2016 General and Jurisdictional Conference delegation of the Mississippi Conference met Saturday, March 11, 2017. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and discern the future of The United Methodist Church in Mississippi. We believe in the process adopted by the 2016 General Conference and the appointed Commission on a Way Forward. Therefore, we encourage the clergy and laity of our conference to remain committed and faithful to the process as voted on by the 2016 General Conference held in Portland, Oregon.
This process was to develop an appointed commission-selected by the Council of Bishops-that seeks to prepare a document that will lead The United Methodist Church forward in the name of Christ. As of November 2016, that commission has been appointed and started meeting in January of this year. The expectation is that the commission will come forward with a recommendation to the Council of Bishops. The Council of Bishops will consider this recommendation, propose legislation and call a special session of the General Conference in 2019.
Therefore, the following members of the Mississippi General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegation encourage the clergy and laity of the Mississippi Conference to remain prayerfully committed to the process as our church seeks the discernment of God Almighty for the future of God's blessed United Methodist Church.
Prayerfully signed and submitted,
Timothy E. Crisler, Elmo "Bo" Gabbert, MD, Leanne Burris, Brian Jones, Opal Ann LaSalle, Jim Genesse, Stephen Sparks, Connie Shelton, Barry L. Male, Jr., Connie B. Walters, C. Martin Butler, Kay Barksdale, Mitchell B. Hedgepeth, Fred Britton, David Stotts, Turner Arant, Lauren Sledge, Tim Prather, David Beckley, William D. Scott, III, Steve McAlilly, Mattie Gipson