Brothers and sisters, the full report from our Commission on a Way Forward and the full deliberations and recommendation of our Council of Bishops has been released. It is available here. I want to encourage you all to read and reflect on the plans and the recommendation. Please do this prayerfully, contemplatively, openly, and with deep regard for the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Many are anxious about the future of The United Methodist Church. This is not without warrant, but we are a people of faith, not fear. In the tradition of John Wesley, we believe that this Church is God’s Church, and we are humble, dedicated servants to God’s will. This is why we are committed to unity and the common vision to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. This, which unites us, is so much greater than anything that might divide us.
The Council of Bishops is committed to a future for the whole United Methodist Church. We are fully aware of the emotional magnitude and spiritual distress many in our Church experience over the LGBTQ+ concerns, and yet we truly believe that we can stay united even beyond our disagreements of the authority of scripture and its interpretation. In no way is our recommendation for the One Church Plan discounting the importance of our varied perspectives, but we are attempting to establish a “grace margin” in which all believing Christians can co-exist, even WITH our different readings and interpretations.
I am so proud to be the bishop of our Wisconsin Conference – the whole Conference. I honor the full breadth of biblical and theological perspectives, even those with which I disagree. The strength and heritage of United Methodism is that it allows for a wide variety of perspectives and beliefs. We are a denomination of grace and mercy, tolerance and respect.
Ultimately, The United Methodist Church is God’s Church. With Jesus, we pray, “Thy will be done.” Each of us, individually, may have strong feelings and beliefs; but together, we are the people of God, consecrated through our baptism, made one in the Spirit, and acknowledging that what God joins together, no one on earth should tear apart. May you reflect prayerfully, mercifully, and compassionately on the way forward – on our future life together. Thanks be to God.
Grace and Peace,
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).