Quotes on The Way Forward

Notable Quotes on The Way Forward and The United Methodist Church

The following quotes were compiled from meeting notes, press releases, blogs, videos and social media conversations over the past two years by Sybil Davidson, Conference Communicator. These words stood out as relevant and useful. 


Words From North Georgia United Methodists

“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. We have sought to faithfully fulfill the charge given to us through the Mission, Vision and Scope document that formed the Commission. 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.”
—Rev. Jasmine Smothers, North Georgia clergy and a member of the Commission on a Way Forward (to ngumc.org upon submitting the interim report to the Council of Bishops)

"I pray for the unity of the church. Not unity for unity's sake, but for Christ’s sake. Because I pray for the unity of Christ's body in the world.”
—Mathew Pinson, chair of North Georgia’s General Conference delegation (speaking to the 2018 North Georgia Annual Conference)

 “There is nothing we can’t overcome through Christ.”
—Rev. Dr. Byron Thomas to the North Georgia Annual Conference

"We don't have to be a perfect church to share a perfect savior."
—Rev. Dr. Rodrigo Cruz, in the closing sermon of North Georgia Annual Conference 2018 

"United Methodists are the last mainline Protestant denomination that maintains hospitals, schools, colleges, universities and program agencies like UMCOR. UMCOR, for example, is a world leader in disaster response. In fact, UMCOR is the agency that the Red Cross relies on for first-level deployment of volunteers and shelters when natural disasters occur. In my view, it would be a grave sin to allow these important ministry efforts to collapse because the church could not find a way forward in the unity of Christ."
Mathew Pinson (speaking to United Methodist News Service) In this conversation He also emphasized that Christians are already bound together through their baptismal covenant, which is more powerful than any polity, creed or biblical interpretation. 

"... I am a human being and do the same thing. We are all Pharisees, categorizing by who's more righteous, much more holy, more close to Jesus. We always want to measure up and put ourselves a little above. But there is another way. John Wesley realized there's a method to break us out of this bondage. Prayer, reflection, time together in small groups and worship, all remind us that we are human and God is God. We have the method, we just have to reclaim it."
—Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson speaking to the 2018 North Georgia Annual Conference on the essential role of practicing spiritual disciplines


"We see from the poll that this is not clear-cut, and that in this room we are divided. But what we've seen across the board is 70 to 80 percent of us would rather go ahead together than apart. 70 to 80 percent of the church wants to stay together, and regardless of what's decided in February we can still choose to stay together, and that's what I will lead."
—Bishop Sue speaking about polls taken by North Georgia's Delegation, Clergy, and Annual Conference Members


Words From Around the Connection

"Hold nothing sacred but the mission."
—Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey (speaking to the 2016 United Methodist Association of Communicators)

“We seek a way forward for The United Methodist Church that strengthens and expands Christ’s mission in ways that value and enable the Church to reach more people in different contexts around the world and to minister with faithfulness, humility, creativity, and generosity.”
—Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball, Way Forward moderator (press release)

"... we approach this theological work with a ‘convicted humility’—we are grounded in important convictions, and yet we ‘see through a glass darkly,’ in Paul’s words, and so we hold these convictions with humility before God and each other,” 
—Bishop Ken Carter (press release)

"After the special session of 2019 the local churches will still be challenged to get congregations beyond walls of the church and into communities. We will be challenged to reach more people, younger people, more diverse people, we will be challenged to live our values of radical hospitality ..."
—Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai, Chief Connectional Officer for the Connectional Table (speaking to the 2017 United Methodist Association of Communicators)

"After the special session, The United Methodist Church will still be here and the mission of God will still need our hands, feet, and hearts to be a reality."
—Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai (to UMAC)

"Communicate a calm faith and an absolute certainty that no matter what happens at the called session, God has not stopped calling The United Methodist Church to its mission and has not stopped equipping United Methodists for the carrying out of the mission."
—Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai (to UMAC)

"This is about the work of God. If we do this work for our preferences and self-interest we fail to place our complete trust in God."
—Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga, Communications Director for the Council of Bishops (speaking to the 2017 United Methodist Association of Communicators)

"I believe The United Methodist Church offers a unique voice to the Christian witness that is able to reach people other branches of the Christian family cannot reach. I did not say Yes [to serve on the commission] to save an institution; I said Yes to help multiply the United Methodist witness.”
—Bishop Robert Schnase (Blog post - https://riotexas.org/bishops-blog/2018/6/2/serving-on-the-commission)

"I do not know what the delegates at the Special Session of General Conference in 2019 will choose to do, which direction they will decide to take us. Plans developed by the Commission of a Way Forward are imperfect, every one of them.  But I do know that the Commission has shown, by its life together, a way forward that is fundamentally different from how conversations about LGBTQ persons have been in the past. This way of working together displayed a deeply Wesleyan ethos best represented by someone who said, ‘I disagree with you, but it doesn’t mean I don’t want to be in the same church together with you. In fact, I do not want to belong to a church that does not include you, even though we disagree about this and many other matters.’”
—Bishop Schnase (Blog post - https://riotexas.org/bishops-blog/2018/6/2/serving-on-the-commission)


"... If the issue of human sexuality was not a defining issue, the leaders noted, it should not be a dividing issue and hence there is need to focus more on purpose and outcomes and relationships rather than structural frames of the organization."
—Message from United Methodist agencies included in a Council of Bishops Press Release