Where we are going: What’s next for the #UMC as we await the Judicial Council ruling?

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Bishop Karen Oliveto listens to a question during a news conference responding to oral hearings of The United Methodist Church’s Judicial Council in Newark, NJ on April 25, 2017. The council is considering questions raised by the South Central Jurisdiction of the UMC related to Bishop Oliveto’s election and prohibitions against LGBTQ persons.

By Patrick Scriven | Director of Communications & Young People’s Ministries

Last week I shared an article detailing what has happened since Bishop Karen Oliveto was elected by the Western Jurisdictional Conference last July. I’ve been busy updating it with some of the many highlights since then. Here is a quick takedown of a busy week.

The big news this week is still unfolding as the Judicial Council is yet to rule of the challenge to Bishop Oliveto’s election that was put before them in oral hearings on Tuesday by the South Central Jurisdiction. The ruling is expected no earlier than Friday though it may not come before Monday.

Most of the WJ College of Bishops accompanied Bishop Oliveto as Richard Marsh presented a strong case on behalf of the Western Jurisdiction for the legality of her election. United Methodists traveled from across the country to be present with many participating in actions of support for the bishop.

Our Bishop Elaine Stanovsky joined Bishop Oliveto at a press conference shortly after the hearings concluded. Each offered statements prior to a short period of questions. Rev. David Valera captured the conference on video, and for those who prefer reading (Text of Statements | Stanovsky | Oliveto).

On Monday, just prior to the Judicial Council, the Council of Bishops officially announced the location and date of a special session of the General Conference to take place February 23-26, 2019 in balmy St. Louis, Missouri. And on Wednesday, the Commission on a Way Forward released a statement reminding us that their work is ongoing and independent of the Judicial Council. The recommendations of this Commission will be the focus of this special session of General Conference.

So, the denomination is in a place of “holy waiting” as the Judicial Council does its work. As Bishop Oliveto said a few weeks ago, we do not need to “hold our breath” and get nothing done while we wait. The Church still has much to do and its most important work happens in local churches each week as they invite people, new and old, to renew and deepen their discipleship; it’s work that can’t wait.

Please be sure to follow us on Facebook where we will share the Judicial Council’s ruling along with responses from key leaders as soon as they become available. Until then, be in prayer and be at work!

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