Jun 14, 2017

To the Eastern Pennsylvania  Conference

As you know, a 32-member Commission on a Way Forward was appointed by the Council of Bishops to assist the bishops in their charge from the 2016 General Conference to lead the church forward amid the present impasse related to human sexuality and resulting questions about the unity of the church.

The Commission on a Way Forward was convened to “design a way for being church that maximizes the presence of a United Methodist witness in as many places in the world as possible, that allows for as much contextual differentiation as possible, and that balances an approach to different theological understandings of human sexuality with a desire for as much unity as possible.  This unity will not be grounded in our conceptions of human sexuality, but in our affirmation of the Triune God who calls us to be a grace-filled and holy people in the Wesleyan tradition.”  (umc.org/who-we-are/commission-on-a-way-forward-about-us).

A recommended reading list for all United Methodists is provided below and your feedback, in light of what you have read, would be greatly appreciated.  

The email account I have had created for your feedback to me is: movingforwardfeedbackepa@gmail.com

Thank you for your time.

Grace and Peace,
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

Recommended reading list:

  • Unity of the Church and Human Sexuality: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness, Study Guide [Book] by Gbhem · 112 pages · ISBN 0938162306Join the conversation. Suitable for a four-week study, this resource addresses how the church can be a witness and provide for a diversified human community. Based on the research of Dr. Charles M. Wood, this study guide offers United Methodists an opportunity to think about what has become a cultural and ecclesial flash point–human sexuality–and comes out of the conviction that the church is thirsty for theological conversation. Methodism is no stranger to controversy. John Wesley addressed the contentious issues of his day and strove to hold the Methodist societies together across many lines of difference. This guide plumbs the depths of the Wesleyan heritage to enhance our faithful witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ at a time when devout followers are deeply divided.Contents: Foreword by Dr. Kim Cape; Session One: The Conversation Matters; Session Two: Loving God with Our Mind Matters; Session Three: The United Methodist Church Matters; Session Four: Finding a Way Forward Matters; Afterword by Bishop Kenneth H. Carter; Appendix A: “An Ecclesial Vision for The United Methodist Church” by Dr. Charles M. Wood; Appendix B: Helps for Group Leader
  • Unity In Mission: A Bond of Peace for the Sake of Love – July 10, 2015 by C Andrew DoyleA book and study guide to understand how The Episcopal Church, its churches, and congregations and diocese across the Anglican Communion may stay together in the midst of division over same-sex marriage. It includes and updated prefaces from Secretary James A. Baker III. It has been used as primary reading material for leaders engaging processes in over 17 dioceses, and in over 4 Provinces of the Anglican Communion.
  • The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict – July 13, 2015 by The Arbinger Institute NEW EDITION, REVISED AND UPDATEDWhat if conflicts at home, conflicts at work, and conflicts in the world stem from the same root cause?What if we systematically misunderstand that cause?And what if, as a result, we systematically perpetuate the very problems we think we are trying to solve?Every day.From the authors of Leadership and Self-Deception comes an international bestseller that instills hope and inspires reconciliation. Through a moving story of parents who are struggling with their own children and with problems that have come to consume their lives, we learn from once-bitter enemies the way to transform personal, professional, and global conflicts, even when war is upon us.
Additional resources [PDFs]:
To be presented at Annual Conference: