This last week, the clergy of the newly formed Great Plains annual conference joined together for an Orders and Fellowship meeting. We had a speaker, some workshops, some worship, and a great deal of fellowship. I had fun seeing colleagues and friends from all over the two state area. Unbeknownst to me (perhaps others knew about it), the chairs of each of the orders were making a statement about the following two questions:
1.) How do we live in the tension of upholding our covenant to follow and uphold the Discipline of the UMC while disagreeing with some positions of the Discipline?
2.) How do we respond with grace and love, both corporately and personally when a colleague decides she/he can no longer live within that covenant?
Given the recent conversation in the UMC, the elephant in the UMC was named and it seems that we are going to begin to (try) to find unity in the bond of peace in the midst of great conflict. After each chair of the orders made their statement, Bishop Jones made a statement, too. It’s found here.
On Thursday morning, Rev. Dr. Nanette Roberts of Grace UMC, Olathe, preached a powerful sermon, not without it’s provocative statements. They announced that the video would be made available at some point. I assume that it will eventually be found here.
So…it seems that we are going to have a conversation, or at least the door was opened for a conversation in the open, about where we as the Great Plains will be standing on pastors upholding the Book of Discipline. Being a peacemaker and a prophet often don’t go hand in hand. What will we do? Who will we become? How will we show love to each other in the conversation?