“Weaving our Future” is an opportunity to enter a global conversation in The United Methodist Church.
“How do we have difficult conversations in The United Methodist Church?” That is a question Bishop David Alan Bard raises as United Methodists across Michigan share hopes, dreams and concerns about the ministry of the church with those who identify as lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgendered, or queer.
At the 2016 General Conference of The United Methodist Church, delegates approved a proposal from the Council of Bishops to form a commission to explore how the church might live with grace with one another in light of significant differences on LGBTQ inclusion. In November 2016, the Council of Bishops asked each resident bishop to organize conversation in their area parallel to the work of the Commission on a Way Forward.
In keeping with that charge, Bishop Bard has met with groups of persons around the state. He noted in his invitation, “It is my expectation that as followers of Jesus we will gather to listen deeply to each other and take from these Weaving the Future conversations not only a more profound understanding of both shared values and differences, but also a renewed commitment to compassionate, intelligent and courageous conversation even when topics are difficult.”
To assist with this discussion, the bishop invited two individuals that have had these conversations before to share their personal theological and Wesleyan understanding of these positions. They come together, not as representatives of caucus groups, but as two people who love Jesus and love the church and whose conversation can be a model for us. This is not a full discussion of these complex conversations, but a way to gain a more profound understanding of both shared values and differences, and a renewed commitment to compassionate and intelligent conversation, even when the topics are difficult.
Listen in as the Rev. Lisa Batten, Director and Campus Pastor at the Wesley Foundation in Kalamazoo and Chris Palmer, Lay Leader of Pathfinder Church in Portage, Michigan share their thoughts and feelings.
Bishop Bard will soon announce additional Listening Sessions to be held during 2018. In the meantime, it is possible to prepare for those conversations. Additional resources may be found here.
This video was produced by the Michigan Conference of The United Methodist Church. It may be widely shared without advanced permission, but attribution required. © 2017 Michigan Conference of The United Methodist Church.