On Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, candidates forums were held by the Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) and Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA).

The BMCR forum was moderated by Carolyn Johnson, former United Methodist Women national president and North Central Jurisdiction coordinator for BMCR. “BMCR is a caucus that works for the common good, looking to spread joy through peace,” said J. Lavon Wilson, United Methodist Women member from the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. During the forum, candidates were asked variations of the same questions: What’s the best advice anyone has given you about working across racial and cultural boundaries? When did you find yourself the numerical minority and how did it affect you? What questions are still unresolved regarding race and inclusion in The United Methodist Church—and how would you help answer them? What does the discipleship of leadership mean to you? The purpose of the forum was to provide insight on episcopal candidates’ understanding of racial and cultural relationships within the church and how they understand their role in making the church fully antiracist, multicultural and inclusive. Click here to read more about the BMCR forum.

MFSA welcomed the North Central Jurisdiction to a breakfast and episcopal candidates’ forum Wednesday July 13 at First United Methodist Church of Peoria. According to its mission, MFSA works to mobilize, lead and sustain a progressive United Methodist movement, energizing people to be agents of God’s justice, peace and reconciliation. An unofficial United Methodist body, MFSA is accountable to its board of directors and supported by members and contributions. All 17 episcopal nominees were present for the forum. Each nominee was presented the same question by the Rev. Luis Reyes, pastor at First United Methodist Church of Lombard, Illinois, who moderated the forum. “Our bishops have expressed widely diverse responses to charges filed against clergy who have violated currently disciplinary prohibitions against performing same-sex marriage ceremonies,” Reyes stated. “One bishop has said that if 100 ceremonies are officiated, 100 church trials will occur. Other bishops have encouraged just resolutions that are witness to grace, mercy and justice. Describe the approach you will take if a complaint is brought against one of your pastors.” Click here to read more about the MFSA forum.