Bishop urges prayer, fasting, dialogue in a quest for unity

In seeking “A Way Forward” for the United Methodist Church, Bishop Peggy Johnson joins her episcopal peers in appealing to members to “enter into a time of serious prayer and fasting.”

Bishop Peggy JohnsonThe Council of Bishops and The Upper Room launch Phase 3 of their Praying our Way Forward campaign in June, resuming what they began in 2016. Now they want UMs to fast and pray through the Special Session of General Conference, planned for Feb. 23-26, 2019, as the denomination charts a path through its quandary over homosexuality and church law.

The bishops ask us to pray for the church daily for at least three minutes, from 2:23 to 2:26, AM or PM, in recognition of the dates for the 2019 special session. They also invite us to fast weekly — those who safely can — from Thursday sundown until Friday noon.

“The mission of the church, to make disciples of Jesus Christ, is still the main thing, and we are united by that,” Bishop Johnson emphasizes. “Let us be united also in our fasting and prayers.”

Meanwhile, she says, all churches should engage in small-group conversations using either the Arbinger Institute’s book The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict and/or the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s four-lesson study The Unity of the Church and Human Sexuality: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness.

More study resources are featured on our conference website’s Way Forward for the UMC page:

Plus, you can find information about more recommended books, including:

  • Are We Really Better Together? by Rob Renfroe and Walter Fenton
  • Our Strangely Warmed Hearts, by Karen P. Oliveto
  • Holy Contradictions, edited by Brian K. Mulford
  • Bid Our Jarring Conflicts Cease, by David N. Field