Council of Bishops focuses on “justice, reconciliation, and healing.”


Council of Bishops President Bishop Ken Carter celebrates Holy Communion during the Memorial Service at the start of the Council meeting held at Lake Junaluska in North Carolina early this month


The United Methodist Council of Bishops met Nov. 6-8 at Lake Junaluska, N.C. This is a condensed summary of that meeting from Council President Kenneth H. Carter, Bishop of the Florida United Methodist Church.

For the Bishop’s full report, click here.

The Council is a global body, serving 12 million members from nations and cultures with vastly different laws and traditions.

The meeting included the following actions and agenda items:  
  • We announced, by a 92% global vote, the ratification of the Women's Equality Amendment.
  • We celebrated the election of Cynthia Fierro Harvey as the incoming president of the Council of Bishops in May, Thomas J. Bickerton as the president-designate, Tracy Smith Malone as the secretary, Bruce Ough as executive secretary, and Sally Dyck as ecumenical officer.
  • We announced gifts of $54 million (toward a $50 million goal) for the endowment of Africa University.
  • We were led in the remembrance of the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago by the Bishops of Germany, Harald Rückert and Rosemarie Wenner (retired), and Eduard Khegay of Eurasia.
  • There were reports of the revision of the global social principles and on the most recent decisions of the Judicial Council, including questions of disaffiliation and aspects of the traditional plan and its implementation.
  • Bishop Carter’s presidential address was entitled “To Redefine the Connection:  Loving our Neighbor with a Convicted Humility,” and was based on Matthew 22.  The address can be accessed here.
  • In our leadership over the next six months leading to the 2020 General Conference, the Bishops reclaimed the language in the Book of Discipline of seeking "justice, reconciliation and healing" through just resolutions and remind the church that church trials are "an expedient of last resort."
There is a strong and united voice from almost every Bishop outside the United States that the U.S. should become a regional conference, being allowed to adapt the Book of Discipline as their own central conferences are now allowed to do.
 
As the Bishops lead toward the General Conference in May, 2020, there is a commitment to accompany conversations across the church and to listen across our differences to discover “new ways of embodying unity.”

Throughout these meetings there was a renewed commitment to relationships, which are at the heart of Jesus’ prayer for unity with his disciples (John 17). In the language of Bishop John Yambasu of Sierra Leone, we are called in this season “to move from making stands toward sitting with one another in dialogue.

This will be the work of our church, and the Council of Bishops, in the coming months.
 
The Peace of the Lord,

Kenneth H. Carter, Jr.
President, Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church
 

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