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Council of Bishops' Meeting and Statement
Dear Lay and Clergy Leadership of EPA,
 
I continue to pray for our lay and clergy leaders daily as you lead your congregations and ministries forward. You are providing Holy Spirit-led ministry and Christ-filled compassion and healing with your congregation and in the community. Since I began with you on September 1, 2021, I have witnessed courageous and innovative leadership that is making a difference in people’s lives. I thank God for you.
 
This past week the Council of Bishops met for four days. It was a Zoom meeting, and 110 residential and retired United Methodist Bishops gathered from around the world. We met from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Eastern time, which meant some were meeting past midnight in their countries. Regrettably, some bishops, mostly retired bishops, were unable to join us, or to join consistently, because the internet is not stable enough in some parts of all countries around the world.
 
We gathered to pray for the church and the world, to hear God’s Word proclaimed, and to worship and work together. Of utmost importance for the bishops at this time are the following matters.
  • The ministry and witness of the church in the world during the pandemic.
  • Care for God’s Creation because of climate change.
  • The call and work to end the sin of racism in the church and the world.
  • The healing and renewal of former scouts who were sexually abused, including through United Methodist troops and packs, and a settlement with the survivor claimants.
  • Advocating for the health and safety of all people around the world through vaccinations.
  • Update on the next General Conference. Due to the pandemic, the Commission on General Conference will decide by the end of March 2022 if there will be a General Conference. Key considerations are our progress toward stamping out COVID-19 and its variants, vaccination rates of our delegates around the world, visas for delegates from outside the U.S. (almost 50% of the delegates are from outside the U.S.) and the health and safety of all General Conference participants.
  • Separation and disaffiliation of congregations due to full inclusion of LGBTQ persons. Attached is a statement from the Council of Bishops about the future United Methodist Church. You will see that it parallels EPA’s aspiration to be a diverse conference. While we may experience some congregations leaving The United Methodist Church, the bishops and leadership of EPA are prepared to continue to make a way forward for a diverse church and a church that continues to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ and to provide for local and global mission and ministry with the people in our communities.

I continue to look forward to serving and leading EPA. Together, God has a great future for us and our United Methodist witness and service in the world. I invite you to pray for the bishops, pray for EPA’s leadership and pray that God will use us to be transformative disciples and difference-makers in our communities and in the world.

See Attachment: Council of Bishops' Statement

Keep the faith!

John

Bishop John Schol
The United Methodists of
Eastern Pennsylvania & Greater New Jersey
BishopJohnSchol@epaumc.org | 610-666-1442
BishopJohnSchol@gnjumc.org | 732-359-1010

Equipping transformational leaders for
New Disciples | Vital Congregations | Transformed World

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Welcome Service for Bishop John Schol

September 18, 2021