Reconciling United Methodists of North Carolina

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Bishops Avoid Extremes in Unity Discussions

Council of Bishops President Bruce Ough
Council of Bishops President Bruce Ough delivers a sermon at a Council of Bishops special meeting. Photo by Maidstone Mulenga.

by Cynthia B. Astle
February 27, 2018

For now, it appears that the Council of Bishops is focusing its unity discussions on the “contextualization” version of three models submitted to it by the Commission on a Way Forward: remove language declaring homosexual practice “incompatible” with Christian teaching from the Book of Discipline.

The other two options – an “accountability” model that would retain the “incompatible” language and strengthen enforcement for violations, and the creation of theologically diverse branches under a single authority – hadn’t been discussed in detail through the afternoon of Feb. 27, according to retired Bishop William B. Lewis.

The Council of Bishops met behind closed doors Feb. 25-28 in Dallas to discuss the Way Forward models in preparation for deciding in May which version to forward for the 2019 General Conference. The deadline to submit legislation is July 8.

Read more: Bishops Avoid Extremes in Unity Discussions