2 Bishops Offer Plan for Denomination's Future

2 Bishops Offer Plan for Denomination's Future

7/10/2019

Bishop David Bard (center) confers with fellow bishops on the issue of whether the legislative committee can refer items to the denomination's Judicial Council for review during the 2019 United Methodist General Conference in St. Louis. Bard has since joined with Bishop Scott Jones in proposing a plan to reshape The United Methodist Church. File photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

By Sam Hodges
July 10, 2019 | UM News
Two bishops propose turning The United Methodist Church into an umbrella organization for new, self-governing church groups that would offer different approaches on ordination of gay clergy and same-sex unions.

Michigan Conference Bishop David Bard and Texas Conference Bishop Scott Jones began collaborating on a plan after the rancorous 2019 General Conference and shared it with United Methodist News this week.

“We both envision a future where the church will focus on its mission of making disciples and spend less time and energy debating issues of human sexuality, which means we need to bless different parts of The United Methodist Church to be about the mission in their own ways,” Jones said.

The denomination has faced conflict for more than four decades over theological differences regarding homosexuality. The 2019 General Conference, held Feb. 23-26 in St. Louis, reinforced restrictions on LGBTQ ordination and same-sex unions, but also led to protests and resistance by many churches across the U.S.

Bard and Jones’ plan comes as various groups of church leaders discuss options for the denomination, including schism. A Sept. 18 deadline looms for petitions to be submitted for the 2020 General Conference in Minneapolis.

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