The Council of Bishops announced today that a “diverse group of representatives from United Methodist advocacy groups with contrasting views and bishops from around the world has collaborated on a proposed agreement for the separation of The United Methodist Church (UMC) that has the unanimous support of all the parties involved.”
RMN Executive Director Jan Lawrence was invited by Sierra Leone Bishop John Yambasu to participate in the mediation process that led to the Protocol described above. The RMN board has been briefed and supports the Protocol. Lawrence also belongs to the team developing the legislation that will implement the Protocol.
RMN supports efforts for broad reform in The United Methodist Church so that the Church can begin to repent of its anti-LGBTQ past and present and so that it can begin a new way of being the Church unpredicated on its U.S.-centric origins. In addition, the Church’s inflexible governance processes and structures may have proved adequate in an earlier era, but they are insufficient for the ministry needs of the world today.
Because no group has the authority to act on behalf of The United Methodist Church besides the General Conference, the group involved in this process of mediation did its work realizing that it could only offer recommendations to the General Conference in 2020. This group’s goal has been to find a way to interrupt the typical flow of the General Conference to avoid a repeat of the harm done and brokenness displayed in 2019.
RMN supports this Protocol for the opportunity it brings for repentance, reform, and reconciliation. Lawrence is grateful for the invitation to participate in the conversation. The combined impact of the legislation needed to implement the Protocol, the Regional Conference Plan, and the Global Social Principles will prove far-reaching. The moratorium on anti-LGBTQ complaints and trials in the Protocol will lessen our anxiety in this era of the Traditional Plan while we work to remove the discriminatory language in the Book of Discipline and reform our United Methodist Church for the sake of witness and ministry.
Ophelia Hu Kinney
Reconciling Ministries Network