Upcoming COWF gatherings

September 05, 2018

Bishop Laurie's Update on the Commission on a Way Forward

Dear Friends,

Grace and peace! I hope that you are enjoying this beautiful summer here in Iowa. At the same time, I would ask for your prayers for those parts of our state that experienced significant property damage as a result of severe storms over the past month, including United Methodist churches and parsonages. If you wish to make a contribution toward the relief effort, process, please click here.

I also want to give you an update on the work of the Council of Bishops and the Commission on a Way Forward, in preparation for the Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC) to be held February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. In response to Judicial Council Decision 1360, which was announced on May 25, 2018, the Council of Bishops issued an amended call. According to COB President Ken Carter, “The purpose of this Special Session of the General Conference shall be limited to receiving and acting upon a report from the Commission on a Way Forward and recommendations of the Council of the Bishops.” In the original call issued in April last year, the bishops stated that the purpose of the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference is to be “limited to receiving and acting on a report from the Council of Bishops based on the recommendations of the Commission on a Way Forward.” 

Bishop Carter explained that the amended call in response to the Judicial Council decision was made “out of a great sense of caution and the desire to help delegates to the Special Session of General Conference 2019 do their best work.”  

Then, on July 12, The Council of Bishops requested that the Judicial Council issue declaratory decisions on the constitutionality of the petitions submitted by the Commission on a Way Forward to the 2019 Special Session of General Conference. COB President Carter said, “We are asking for this so that we can gain greater clarity about constitutional issues within the three plans, and in service to and support of the delegations, who will do extremely important work in a very limited amount of time.” The Proposed Legislation includes the One Church Model, the Connectional Conference Plan, and the Traditional Plan.

On July 31, the final report of the Commission on a Way Forward was released in all four official languages of the General Conference: English, Portuguese, French, and Swahili. The report will be presented to the 2019 Special Session of General Conference. Subject to final copy editing, the report will be printed in the Advance Daily Christian Advocate (ADCA) in November. Please click to read the Commission on a Way Final Report and Plans in:

I encourage you to take the time to read the entire Commission on a Way Forward report because there is much to take in. Starting in September, gatherings will be held around the conference where I and our General Conference delegates will be present to worship, answer questions, and be in dialogue together around the pros and cons of each plan. This report will be received by the gathered delegates in St. Louis, Missouri, on February 23-26, 2019.

2018 Fall Gatherings – Commission on the Way Forward Also, don’t forget our denomination-wide Praying It Forward initiative. I invite you to join me and the Iowa Annual Conference in prayer daily from 2:23-2:26 a.m. or p.m., the numbers of which correspond to the February 23-26 dates of the special General Conference. Praying at another, more convenient time is fine. Please pray for our delegates, the called General Conference, and for our future as The United Methodist Church. 

Bishop Laurie