Videos address A Way Forward

The Commission on A Way Forward was a diverse group of 32 members brought together by The Council of Bishops to explore options to keep unity of the church over human sexuality. They held their final meeting in the Upper Room in Nashville in May 2018. ~Facebook/COWF

Looking for resources to help your congregation approach the 2019 General Conference? Videos available.

How might United Methodists approach General Conference with hearts and minds at peace?

The Commission on a Way Forward has put together several videos about how the diverse, 32-member group built relationships and worked together on different approaches to the denomination’s stance on homosexuality.

Commission on A Way Forward moderators, Bishops Kenneth Carter, Sandra Steiner Ball, and David Yemba share this statement.

Usually, when there is a decision to be made, the Church gathers together a group of fairly like-minded people to have conversation and to propose the next best step. The Commission was different. The Commission was not a group of like-minded people. The Commission was intentionally pulled together to include a richness of diversity among people who love Christ and The United Methodist Church. Commission members did not come together to convince other members of the Commission to change or compromise their stances or positions. The Commission was brought together to work in a conciliar fashion to explore how the Church might move forward in the midst of the current disagreement around the inclusion, treatment, and leadership of persons who are homosexual, or who identify with the LGBTQ community.

The Commission now offers all United Methodists a four-video series that describes how the Commission built relationship and community in order to accomplish their work together. These videos document their experiences, hopes, dreams, concerns, approach, and some of what they learned.

“We hope that you will take these gifts and use them to prepare for the upcoming General Conference,” the moderators said. “We hope that you will listen deeply for God’s voice and wisdom in the midst of our words. We hope that you will get a sense that this work is not and will not be easy, but that we have a choice of approaching our work with either a heart of war or a heart of peace.”

VIDEO 1: A Parable for Today (5:14 minutes): Consultant Gil Rendle shares a story that illustrates the difference between positions and interests. When we are able to move from holding onto our positions to seeking to understand each other’s underlying interests we are better able to move forward together. Gil provides these questions for reflection:

  • How can I become more aware of my own interests so that I am not confined from seeing more by my own position?
  • How (and with whose help) can I listen for the interests of others?
  • Download the video here; watch above or on YouTube

VIDEO 2: Purpose, Principles and Importance of the Work of the Commission on A Way Forward (54:18 minutes): Consultant Gil Rendle gives an in depth theological and technical overview of the work of the commission that helps to frame the work that is being asked of the delegates to the February 2019 General Conference. 

  • What is the new way in which I should approach my leadership in shaping the future mission of the church?
  • Who should I seek to serve in my decision making about the future?
  • What are the values that will best serve the purpose of the whole church in the future?
  • Download the video here; watch on YouTube.

VIDEO 3: The Anatomy of Peace (5:44 minutes): Bishop Grant Hagiya shares reflections about the book “Anatomy of Peace.”  Bishop Hagiya shares why the principles of this book help us make a fundamental shift from battleground to a place where people can have open and honest dialogue with one another.

VIDEO 4: The Value of Connection (7:02 minutes): Donna Pritchard (clergy, Pacific Northwest Conference), Tom Salsgiver (clergy, Susquehanna Conference) and Leah Taylor (laity, Texas Conference) are all Commission on A Way Forward members. They share reflections on their work, the value of connection and the relationships they formed during their time together on the Commission. 

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