(UMCom) The United Methodist Council of Bishops, meeting in Portland, Ore., voted to adopt a “Covenant of Accountability for the Council of Bishops” and pledged to hold one another accountable for living according to the agreement while seeking the support and prayers of the entire church. The announcement comes on the eve of the quadrennial legislative meeting of The United Methodist Church.
“As we prepare for the 2016 General Conference, we join together in a covenant that is rooted in our consecration vows and that outlines how we intend to fulfill those vows and provide spiritual leadership prior to, during, and after General Conference,” reads the agreement.
“As we approach the opening of General Conference the Council of Bishops expressed its trust in God and we invite prayer for the world that God loves, for the whole church, and for the Council of Bishops,” said Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., president of the Council of Bishops. “During our meeting in Portland, the Council reflected on the work of bishops and our covenant with each other,” said Bishop Brown.
The Council of Bishops further adopted a statement, which reads:
“The Council of Bishops laments points of brokenness in our covenant and seeks to rebuild trust with each other. On May 6, 2016 we overwhelmingly recommitted ourselves to live in covenant accountability with each other, as a sign of integrity and as an instrument of unity for the whole church.
The Council of Bishops recognizes a breach may have occurred in the Just Resolution between Bishop Talbert and other parties affirmed in December 2014, however we understand that our polity places ultimate responsibility for the disciplinary process against a bishop not in the Council of Bishops but within the appropriate College of Bishops.
Trusting in God, we invite prayer for the world that God loves, for whole church and for the Council of Bishops.”
“United Methodists are people of covenant: covenant with God and with each other,” said Bishop Peggy Johnson, who served on the Council’s task force that worked on developing the covenant.
“The bishops are striving to live together in unity through our faith in Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit. As we approach the celebration of Pentecost Sunday (May 22), it is my prayer that we realize this covenantal unity in the midst of our diversity.”
Note: The Council of Bishops provides leadership and helps set the direction of the 12.8 million-member church and its mission throughout the world. The bishops are the top clergy leaders of The United Methodist Church, the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.
The Council elected a new slate of officers last May, who will take office on the third day of General Conference. The new officers of the Council will be: