Bishop Ken Carter, comments on the work of The Commission on A Way Forward.”
Bishop Ken Carter is the episcopal leader of the Florida Conference. He is also a co-moderator of The Commission on A Way Forward, along with Bishops Sandra Steiner Ball and David Yemba.
In a letter to his Florida flock, Carter commented: “The most recent meeting of the Council of Bishops (November 5-10) received the Commission’s Interim Report, which is described here. In summary, sketches of three models or general directions were offered:
- A model that maintains the present language in the Book of Discipline around human sexuality and assumes a higher degree of accountability across the church.
- A model that removes restrictive language from the Book of Discipline around human sexuality and allows for greater local contextualization around the world in matters of marriage and ordination, and offers protections for those whose conscience will not allow them to participate in same gender weddings or ordain LGBTQ persons.
- A model that creates a connection or communion of branches of The United Methodist Church, but with shared commitments to mission and doctrine and shared services.
“Each of the models represents values that are across the church and within the Council of Bishops. Each includes a gracious way for those who feel called to exit the denomination, although this is not the hope or intention. In the third model there would be alignment with a branch of the larger connection or communion. It would also be likely that these branches would be in full communion with each other. And it is also possible that a new model or general direction might emerge.
“These models are presented as sketches. I encourage you to watch this brief video by Bishop Robert Schnase, who is a member of the Commission on a Way Forward, about how this mental model can be helpful as we move forward.”
Carter also noted that in his conversations with Florida congregations, “I often find that people ask me questions along the way about the [topic of human sexuality].”
- Will we divide over the questions of human sexuality?
- Am I hopeful about the future of the church?
- Are we changing the way we interpret the scriptures?
- Is there a way to end discrimination against persons of LGBTQ identity in our churches?
Read more about his responses to those questions.