Division is not yet definite
The Council of Bishops recently announced a proposed separation agreement reached by an unofficial group representing a diverse range of United Methodist traditionalist, centrist and progressive interests. The agreement, known as the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation, was signed on Dec. 17, 2019 and announced on Jan. 3.
While details of this protocol include terms of denominational separation, the local church does not need to worry about division just yet. The agreement itself is not an official plan included among the business of the 2020 General Conference. Several steps need to be taken before it can be considered for a vote. The group is sending the protocol to the Judicial Council for review, and it’s possible the delegates may need to vote to suspend the rules by a two-thirds majority before the protocol can be considered for a vote. Additionally, proposed amendments will likely change how any proposed separation plays out.
Many in the church are ready to move past the harmful debates and debasement of others. We believe that all people are of sacred worth, and we are called to make disciples of all people. As we move forward into uncertain times, I urge you to continue being faithful to Jesus Christ. Continue to support your local church, and continue to bring the light of God’s love to those living in spiritual darkness. No plan or separation will ever change the mandate for all Christians to love one another.
The Oklahoma Conference will continue to focus on making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, and we will continue our commitment to equip local churches and strengthen our United Methodist witness throughout the state.
If you would like to read the Council of Bishops’ press release or the proposed protocol, you can find both at UnitedMethodistBishops.org. If you would like to review a list of questions and answers about General Conference, you can find my responses at okumc.org.
I encourage you to continue your prayers for the Oklahoma Delegation as they prepare for General Conference in May. Moreover, I encourage you to hold fast to your faith, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and expect God to reveal the next steps in our journey forward.
God bless you,
Bishop James Nunn