For many years The United Methodist Church has struggled about how to be church together when we do not all have the same understanding along the issues of human sexuality, especially homosexuality. At General Conference 2016, this issue came to a head and in order to find new ways to address our struggles, a Commission on a Way Forward was created. This 32-member body is composed of clergy and lay delegates from 9 countries and 4 continents. They were given the task of examining and revising paragraphs in the Book of Discipline dealing with LGBTQ inclusion in the church and exploring options that help to maintain and strengthen the unity of the Church. They have been meeting often and will bring their proposals to the Council of Bishops and a special General Conference to be held in St. Louis on February 23-26, 2019.
As The United Methodist Church works, struggles and envisions a way forward as a denomination, we have the opportunity to play an active role – by praying for the work of the Commission on a Way Forward. Each Annual Conference is invited to be in prayer for this effort called Praying Our Way Forward. The Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference’s week to pray is December 10-16.
This is a special holy time to lift to God the work of the Commission on a Way Forward, the future of our denomination, and the work that God is doing through each of us and our local churches and ministries.
Each person in The United Methodist Church is invited to be in prayer in any way that you feel called to. Prayers for each day of our prayer week are available if you would like them. You can find those prayers and other resources at www.umoi.org/prayforward.
The way forward as a denomination can feel a bit uncertain. This time of Praying our Way Forward is a way to remind us to surround this work with the power of the Holy Spirit.
“Our prayer focus is two-fold: We are praying that God will help us to fulfill the mission of the church, and we are praying to be one in Christ. If there is ever a place where we can be one, it’s in the space where we meet God.”
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett of North Alabama Conference
Co-chair of Praying Our Way Forward