Dear West Virginia Conference,
I share with you the press release that came out yesterday naming the members of the Way Forward Commission. I ask that you keep every member and the work of the commission in your daily prayers. As you pray, I ask that you keep the mission of the Way Forward in mind.
“The Commission will bring together persons deeply committed to the future(s) of The United Methodist Church, with an openness to developing new relationships with each other and exploring the potential future(s) of our denomination in light of General Conference and subsequent annual, jurisdictional and central conference actions. We have a profound hope and confidence in the Triune God.
We are a connection, and we admit that our communion is strained; yet much transformative mission across our world is the fruit of our collaboration. The matters of human sexuality and unity are the presenting issues for a deeper conversation that surfaces different ways of interpreting scripture and theological tradition. The work of the commission is meant to inform deliberation across the whole church and to help the Council of Bishops in their service to the next General Conference in finding a way forward.”
“If we do this work with complete surrender to God’s unlimited imagination and kingdom purposes we will be blessed beyond our limited human imagination. God remains God; God is with us; God will never let us go. To God be the glory!”
(Selected Quotes are from “COMMISSION ON A WAY FORWARD Purpose Statement” as prepared by the executive committee of the Council of Bishops)
As the Commission does its work, we will also be at work to continue the discussions which we first began at the 2016 annual conference session in our Circles of Grace. In those Circles of Grace we entered into conversations about how we move forward with the mission and ministry of Christ in the West Virginia Conference in the midst of our various stances on human sexuality; and how to keep the mission of reaching people for Christ and making disciples at the center of what we think, say, and do as the Church.
I look forward to continued conversation, mission, and ministry in the West Virginia area. Please pray for me as I pray for you.
Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball
Follow this link for yesterday’s press release from the Council of Bishops: http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/bishops-name-commission-members