During its most recent meeting in Nashville, Tenn., members of the 32-member Commission on Way Forward prepared an interim report on their work to the Council of Bishops. The Commission's work emphasizes the need for unity of the United Methodist Church while recognizing the different theological understandings of LGBTQ identity.
Rev. Jasmine Smothers of the North Georgia Conference is a member of the Commission.
“The people of North Georgia can be confident that the Commission on a Way Forward has done its work grounded in prayer, Wesleyan theology, and the mission of the church -- making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world," said Rev. Smothers.
The three-day meeting, held Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 at the United Methodist Publishing House, featured heartfelt and spirit-filled devotions and a deep desire to share the love of God to all of God’s people in the global church.
"We have sought to faithfully fulfill the charge given to us through the Mission, Vision and Scope document that formed the Commission (www.umc.org/WayForward)," Rev. Smothers explained. "This work has not been done in a vacuum. Every letter, email, book, presentation, proposal, and constituent voice submitted to us has been reviewed, heard and considered. I am prayerful and hope-filled as we submit an interim report to the Council for Bishops for their review and direction (the Commission was formed through General Conference by the Council of Bishops). There is more work to be done. The Commission has three more meetings after we receive the interim feedback from the Bishops. Please continue in prayer for the Commission and the Council of Bishops.”
As a commission of the Council of Bishops, the interim report will be shared with the bishops during their meeting at Lake Junaluska next week. The members expect the bishops to offer feedback that would help the commission in finalizing a report next year for the 2019 Special Called Session of the General Conference.
“We are convinced that with love, we will continue to discern God’s vision for our church and listen and see what God wants us to be and to do,” said Bishop David Yemba, one of the moderators of the Commission.
For more information on the Commission on a Way Forward, visit umc.org/wayforward.