Eight United Methodist bishops today issued statement declaring United Methodism to be “broken” and calling for “multiple expressions of Methodism.”
It is time to be honest about our current reality. The events transpiring since the adjournment of the Special Session of General Conference illustrate how deep our division is. Sadly, even greater discord, chaos and fighting loom on the horizon at the 2020 General Conference in Minneapolis. The recent call and commitment by some for a moratorium of all complaints related to LGBTQ+ clergy and clergy performing same-gender weddings without a call for a moratorium on actions that violate our current Book of Discipline is yet another example of our brokenness. Even with good intentions, actions like these continue to divide.
This is why we recognize our beloved United Methodist Church no longer can continue in our current form of unity. It is time to quit undermining our mission. It is time for the entire church to come together to figure out how to be the people called Methodists in a new way – to seek a new form of unity.
Is God offering a hope-filled future in which there will be multiple expressions of the Methodist witness?
And they answered:
We believe God can use our current brokenness as a springboard to multiply our Wesleyan DNA through different expressions of Methodism that will allow our diversity of theological thought and contextual practice to flourish untethered from conflict. Indeed, God can bless multiple expressions of Methodism in ways that can have a cumulative impact far greater than we can ever have today in our fractured state.
Signers included four retired USA bishops (Lindsey Davis, Robert Hayes, Young Jin Cho & Alfred Gwinn), three active USA bishops (Scott Jones of Houston, Mike Lowery of Central Texas & Mark Webb of Upper New York) and one non-USA bishop (Eduard Khegay of Russia).
Bishop Jones with liberal Michigan Bishop David Bard has advocated a plan calling for a three way division of United Methodism.
The declaration from the seven bishops came as the Wesleyan Covenant Association, meeting in Tulsa, endorsed the Indianapolis Plan, dividing the church into traditionalist and progressive denominations.