The Council of Bishops Task Force on Human Sexuality, Gender and Race has issued a report for members of the Council of Bishops outlining a list of seven core values formulated for council members and the denomination. Task force members encouraged fellow bishops to join them in living up to these values.
“From the beginning, we focused on the question how we as bishops live faithful to the call ‘to guard the faith, to seek the unity, and to exercise the discipline of the whole church….’,” states the report. “We committed ourselves to intensify our prayer lives and to ask colleagues to do the same, to learn from our colleagues how to offer pastoral care to all people, to provide room for intensive conversations and to share learning material within the Council.”
“The episcopal task force response urges the church to find unity in the midst of theological diversity and commit to the disciplines of our faith to bind us together for the ministry of Christ,” said Bishop Peggy Johnson in commenting on the report. “It acknowledges our divisions, our failures and our need for grace. That is always a good thing I suppose.”
During the Council of Bishops meeting in Oklahoma City, the task force facilitated listening sessions on core values and best practices for unity. In Berlin, they held a discussion on guiding principles for ministry and mission in diverse contexts. The task force integrated recommendations and input from these conversations into this newly issued report.
The report includes the following core values: an affirmation of God’s grace for all, living in covenantal relationships, keeping consecration promises, a commitment to repentance, serving as messengers of hope, being a missionary church and living as a global church.
“As members of this task force, we have had intensive conversations about how to lead in light of the difficult questions that have been presented to us,” said Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, who chairs the task force. “Today we would like to offer a brief summary statement of core values that guide us in our work as bishops of the church.”
The Task Force on Human Sexuality, Gender and Race was formed in January 2014 to facilitate a conversation on these topics. Members of the task force are Bishops Ken Carter, Ciriaco Francisco, Cynthia Fierro Harvey, Julius Trimble, John Schol, Mary Ann Swenson, John Yambasu and Rosemarie Wenner.
Some members of the task force contributed to the book “Finding Our Way,” which is now being used as a tool to engage in conversation with United Methodists about these topics. Others have been engaged drafting the Pastoral Letter on Racism adopted in the Council’s meeting in Berlin in May 2015.
Read the task force’s full report online, which more fully explores each of the core values.
Adapted from an article provided by Diane Degnan, UMCom Public Information