'Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation', A Statement from Bishop Harvey

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey
January 03, 2020

Today, marked a day in history for the people called Methodists as Methodists representing a wide theological spectrum with very diverse thoughts and opinions came together to provide leadership for a future church.
This unprecedented work was undertaken by sixteen United Methodists and is entitled "A Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation."
I trust you will read all of the documents carefully with an open heart and imagine even greater possibilities. Allow me to highlight just a few important points in the document:

  • The United Methodist Church remains The United Methodist Church, although there were some who were calling for the full dissolution of the denomination.
  • Churches that desire to remain United Methodists will not need to do anything different or make any further decisions.
  • There are provisions in the agreement that allow churches to separate from The United Methodist Church.
  • Please note especially the use of the word “separate” vs “leaving” as “separate' communicates a mutual agreement.
  • Legislation based on the protocol must be crafted and placed before the General Conference delegates.  No part of this agreement can be enacted without first gaining the approval of General Conference. 

The mediation work was difficult and called for a give and take as is often required in good mediation. 
Sacrifices were made by all persons involved yet the faithful followers of Jesus maintained their desire is to stop the harm and help delegates do their best work in Minneapolis.
The work is not perfect but again I trust that the Spirit will intervene and fill the gaps.
Many have given much of themselves in this process and much work is still ahead as legislation is created and delegates discern.
I know our tendency is often to react and criticize the work and look for all that is wrong.
I pray that today will be different and that you will give thanks for those who have given so much of themselves to this work thus far and pray for those working on legislation and for the delegates who will prayerfully and faithfully respond to the movement of God.
More was accomplished than I ever thought possible and for that, I give thanks to the stirring of the Holy Spirit.
I am confident that God is doing a new thing in the United Methodist Church and its people.

Grace and Peace, 
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey

“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”
 Isaiah 43:19b | NRSV


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