As we continue to process these past several weeks in our United Methodist Church, we each have asked the question: “What next?”
Members, leaders, clergy, and bishops across the Connection waited patiently throughout the days as the Judicial Council debated how to best move forward. In the end, the Judicial Council ruled that the consecration of an openly gay/homosexual bishop violates our church law.
We have heard this ruling and acknowledge the leadership and wisdom of our Judicial Council members who are charged with guiding us in all matters of legality in regards to our Book of Discipline.
So you might ask “What should we do?”
I believe that it is more important, now more than ever, to remember these things to which we are called to: Prayer, Hope, and Unity.
We have been invited to a season of prayer as we look forward to Annual Conference
Rather than to debate unfruitfully, scrutinizing each other’s opinions and beliefs based on our individual faith, or socioeconomic, and sociopolitical beliefs, let us do, as was encouraged constantly in the Holy Bible, and go to the Lord in prayer. We have invited members of the Indiana Conference and our neighbors across Indiana, as well as the world, to join in a period of focused and intentional prayer — for the work of the Judicial Council, our global United Methodist community, the work of the Commission on a Way Forward, those who we agree with, those who we disagree with, as well as our own Indiana Annual Conference, which will gather for its 9th session, beginning June 8, 2017.
Let us commit to being Harbingers of Hope
Our mission of ‘making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world’ calls us to be harbingers of hope, by any and all means. Whether we are providing resources that are inaccessible to the most vulnerable — such as food, shelter, monetary and emotional support. Or, perhaps, ensuring that our neighbors around the world that are impacted by malaria or HIV/AIDS are able to receive education, preventive measures, and treatment when needed so that they might live and thrive. Our Indiana Miracle Offering for Global Health to support our Imagine No Malaria initiative and our United Methodist Global AIDS Fund serves to be a source of hope. These instances are opportunities for members of the United Methodist community to be harbingers of hope for those who need it the most – here in Indiana and throughout our world. As a bishop of The United Methodist Church, I choose to be a harbinger of hope and ask that you join me in doing so for the Church and your communities also.
The Unity that Jesus prays for in John 17 is not an idea to admire but the center that binds
John 17 reads: May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
I believe that together, we have more than enough to be both thankful and fruitful for the glory of the Lord our God. As we prepare to convene for the 2017 Annual Conference session, with the theme ‘Together. We. Are. More,’ let us remember the undeniable power and beauty of unity. As brothers and sisters in Christ who are each uniquely made by God, called to function as one body — we are stronger, better, and healthier, when we combine our efforts, gifts and talents, and act as one.
As one body, we will continue to pray for members of the Commission on the Way Forward and commit ourselves to work in our mission field which is Indiana and also the world.
Will you join me in in Prayer, providing Hope, and coming together in Unity?
Bishop Julius C. Trimble