Conference pleads with bishops for leadership

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By Kathy L. Gilbert and Sam Hodges
May 17, 2016 | PORTLAND, Ore. (UMNS)

Delegates asked the Council of Bishops to lead the church out of the “painful condition” it is in after an address by Bishop Bruce Ough that called for unity but did not address full inclusion of LGBTQ people. The Rev. Mark Holland, a delegate from Great Plains, said the May 17 call for unity did not provide a path forward. He asked the Council of Bishops to meet today and bring back a report tomorrow. His motion passed 428-364.

The bishops do not have a vote at General Conference, but they can call for a special session of the General Conference.

“This morning, Bishop Ough said that at General Conference, the role of the bishop was to preside,” said the Rev. Tom Berlin, Virginia Conference. “Quite frankly, bishop, we think it’s your role to lead. We are asking for your leadership.”

As delegates returned to the plenary, a large group of LGBTQ supporters were singing, “Blest Be the Tie that Binds,” as they held up hands bound in rainbow stoles while others were bound hand and foot on the floor.

Rev. Adam Hamilton, of the Great Plains Conference, Hamilton pleaded with the bishops to help. Photo by Teri Tobey for the Pacific Northwest Conference
Rev. Adam Hamilton, of the Great Plains Conference, Hamilton pleaded with the bishops to help. Photo by Teri Tobey for the Pacific Northwest Conference

“You have the right to call a special General Conference to focus on this particular issue of how do we reorder our life so that we have a chance to move forward, whatever that looks like,” said the Rev. Adam Hamilton, Great Plains Conference.

The Rev. Jerry Kulah, Liberia Conference, speaking against the referral, said, “I would like for us to follow the rules and not compromise the integrity of our General Conference.”

Hamilton pleaded with the bishops to help.

“We are in a stuck place at this General Conference. We in theory could find ourselves leaving on Friday still stuck and wounded.”

“I’m pleading with you. Please help us.”

Hodges and Gilbert are United Methodist News Service reporters. Contact them at newsdesk@umcom.org.

Video Credit:
On Tuesday afternoon, General Conference delegates returning from their lunch break passed by protestors on the floor and lining the entry to the meeting area. A short video compilation shot by Patrick Scriven and produced by Rev. David Valera for the PNW Conference.

1 COMMENT

  1. Thank you, Adam Hamilton and others, for asking and pushing for something more from our Bishops that “presiding”! We clearly need leadership that is compassionate, insightful, caring and careful, which holds onto the entire biblical story instead of lifting out a few sentences and binding our hands and with them! My prayers are with our episcopal leaders in this difficult and necessary task! Now is the time!

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