Portland, Oregon: The United Methodist Council of Bishops met on May 21 following the close of General Conference for worship and prayer for the ongoing unity of The United Methodist Church.
The Saturday meeting was planned prior to presenting “An Offering for a Way Forward”
to the 2016 General Conference, but recognizing the importance of moving forward with the proposal, the council utilized the opportunity to discuss the possible framework for forming a commission and identify some of the qualities and characteristics needed among its membership.
Meeting in executive session due to the sensitive nature of the discussion, the council processed the conversations over the previous 10 days and identified next steps. The council charged the executive committee with designing the process for forming a commission and creating a timeline for the proposal, recognizing the need to take time to make conscientious decisions yet not delaying the process.
The executive committee agreed to have ongoing conversation and plans to schedule a meeting before the regularly scheduled meeting in July.
“We pledge to take great care in choosing the membership of the commission,” said council president Bishop Bruce R. Ough. “We will work deliberately, intentionally and in a conscientious and prayerful manner to insure the commission reflects the diverse opinions and commitments of the body.”
The bishops determined that the proposal required further clarity, purpose and vision and agreed to appoint a small group to provide the clarity needed. The council also agreed to form a communication team that will keep the church regularly informed at each step of the process.