I have recently been reading materials from the A Way Forward Commission of The United Methodist Church. This group knew it was purposely comprised of persons with very different points of view and convictions about issues, especially with regards to issues of human sexuality. They started their work by creating a covenant to guide their words and actions in meetings and between meetings. They prayed. They studied scripture. They listened to individuals and groups from all over the globe. And they decided to work from a stance of “convicted humility.” It is described in their final report this way:
“Therefore, we seek to advocate a stance we have called convicted humility. This is an attitude which combines honesty about the differing convictions which divide us with humility about the way in which each of our views may stand in need of corrections. It also involves humble repentance for all the ways in which we have spoken and acted as those seeking to win a fight rather than those called to discern the shape of faithfulness together.”
Everyone can learn from this choice on how to work together in mission even when we don’t agree on issues that often make us feel like we are on opposite sides of a war. We can choose to have a heart of peace which allows us to see everyone as a person reflecting God’s image, whose convictions are founded in the same scripture as our convictions rest, and who feel God’s call upon their lives for service to neighbors that are all God’s children.
The Commission was named in order to bring to The United Methodist Church’s General Conference a way of moving forward in this time of deeply held yet often conflicting beliefs. That plan has now been published. It will be presented to a special session of the General Conference with representatives from all over the world for discussion, perfecting, and action on February 23-26, 2019. The decisions made will affect all levels of the church.
I want to invite everyone who is interested in hearing about this report to come together on Sunday afternoon, September 23 beginning at 2pm. This is being planned as an informational meeting. If those who attend wish to then have an opportunity to discuss the issues in greater depth, we will design times and dates for gatherings to pray, listen, share, and seek God’s guidance.