In a series of brief videos, Bishop Scott Jones of the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church explains the situation the denomination finds itself in, clarifies the essentials of the different main plans that will come before the February 2019 General Conference, and gives his opinion on how they will affect the church. We at IRD/UMAction are very grateful for Bishop Jones’s leadership and clear, succinct summaries of the decisions now facing the denomination.
We commend these videos to all United Methodists and other interested persons, and encourage you to share them with others.
Decisive Turn: Bishop Scott Jones says come February at the special General Conference, the UMC will arrive at a fork in the road, and the adoption of the One Church Plan chooses a path that represents a long-term, and likely permanent “decisive turn” that clearly leads to the destination of “prohibitions against all forms of discrimination” against LGBTQ practices and lifestyles, which “will eventually require clergy and congregations to conform to this new standard” throughout the UMC. He explains that adopting the One Church Plan “will not end the conflicts of the last four decades, but move them to local churches and annual conferences.” The main other road would amount to maintaining the basic outlines of “our current compromise” as a denomination, in which LGBT persons are welcomed into membership and participation in ministry, but we have rules requiring clergy to keep parts of their behavior within the boundaries of traditional Christian sexual morality.
Traditional Plan: Bishop Jones says real community that works together requires accountability to agreed-upon rules and common trust in the Discipline. The Traditional Plan, though imperfect, offers a solution to keep all United Methodist leaders, bishops included, accountable to the church’s standards.
Connectional Conference: In this video, Bishop Jones explains how the UMC’s system of connectionalism has protected jurisdictions from interference as they have gone in different directions on human sexuality. The Connectional Conference Plan envisions a new form of unity with three branches, each with their own approach to the issue, but there is currently very little energy and support behind this plan.