Today is the day when the United Methodist Church meets for a special General Conference, where they will hold a critical vote on whether to ordain openly gay clergy and allow individual churches to conduct same-sex marriages.
At First Things, Dale M. Coulter outlines the three options being put before the UMC:
July - Council - Bishops - Plans - Church
Last July, the Council of Bishops offered three possible plans for moving forward: the One Church Plan, the Connectional Conference Plan, and the Traditional Plan. The One Church Plan calls for removing language from the Book of Discipline that upholds traditional teaching on sexuality, and allowing individual churches and conferences to decide on the basis of conscience whether they will permit same-sex unions or homosexual bishops. The Connectional Conference Plan calls for completely reorganizing the regional conferences around shared beliefs rather than geography—in other words, creating traditionalist and progressive conferences and trying to hold them together. The Modified Traditional Plan calls for upholding the traditional teaching on sexuality and then offering an exit path for any local churches or conferences that disagree.
Even though the bishops offered three plans, most have come out in support of the One Church Plan, even creating a website to push it. They hope this plan will preserve the denomination’s unity by allowing individual churches and ministers the freedom to follow their own theological convictions. Most of the traditionalists urge adoption of the Modified Traditional Plan—traditionalists that include organizations like the Wesleyan Covenant Association and the Africa Initiative Group, which represents many African Methodists.
RNS - Tells - Prayer - Journey - Week
RNS tells of a prayer journey undertaken this week by Helen Ryde, who “began a 600-mile pilgrimage from the North Carolina mountains to the America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis, site of the meeting. As she travels through Tennessee and Kentucky and Illinois, she planned to stop in dozens of United Methodist...
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