To Clergy and Laity of the Indiana Conference,
Greetings to you in the name of our Risen Savior Jesus Christ. I claim all the joy, today and every day, to be unapologetically Christian and unashamedly United Methodist.
We are Easter People who have been called to be hope and demonstrate a passionate pursuit of faithful engagement in a world that is too often impaired by fear and division.
Your bishop will not go to sleep tonight fretting over the work and decision making of our United Methodist Judicial Council meeting, this week, from April 25-28.
One of the items on the docket/agenda of the Judicial Council concerns a request from the South Central Jurisdiction for a declaratory decision regarding the nomination, election, and consecration of Bishop Karen Oliveto. Elected in the Western Jurisdiction Bishop Oliveto, who is married to another woman, currently provides leadership to the Mountain Sky Episcopal Area.
There are United Methodists who believe her election is valid and United Methodists who hope the Judicial Council will rule her election unconstitutional.
No matter what decision is made, there are faithful Christians who will disagree. Rather than waiting in angst for a decision by the Judicial Council let me invite you to consider a “More Excellent Way.”
I invite and encourage you to join me in a time of prayer at 7:30 a.m. daily this week.
Pray for the Judicial Council, the ongoing work of the Commission on a Way Forward, and especially the missional engagement of our United Methodist Churches of Indiana, as well as each of our churches in every corner of the world.
As we look forward to the 2017 Annual Conference I am excited about how we will model for the Church and the world: “Together: We. Are. More.”
Paul writes to the church in Ephesus, “Try always to be led along TOGETHER by the Holy Spirit and so be at peace with one another.” (Ephesians 4:3 – Life Application Bible).
Together we are more because Jesus Christ calls us to be one in faith and service.
I invite you to reflect on the words of the hymn “Together We Serve” (The Faith We Sing #2175):
Together we serve, united by love, inviting God's world to the glorious feast. We work and we pray through sorrow and joy, extending your love to the last and the least.
We seek to become a beacon of hope, a lamp for the heart and a light for the feet. We learn, year by year, to let love shine through until we see Christ in each person we meet.
We welcome the scarred, the wealthy, the poor, the busy, the lonely, and all who need care. We offer a home to those who will come, our hands quick to help, our hearts ready to dare.
Together, by grace, we witness and work, remembering Jesus, in whom we grow strong. Together we serve in Spirit and truth, remembering love is the strength of our song.
Bishop Julius C. Trimble