April 28, 2017
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Just as I landed in Dallas Friday evening for the Council of Bishops’ meeting I learned of Judicial Council Decision 1341 regarding the consecration of Bishop Karen Oliveto.
It is important to say clearly that Bishop Oliveto remains in good standing and continues to be the episcopal leader of the Mountain Sky Area. The Judicial Council also suggested that an administrative or judicial process take place in the Western Jurisdiction so Bishop Oliveto’s constitutional right to fair process is fulfilled.
Like many of you, I am still processing my thoughts and feelings. Much is uncertain, but there can be no doubt this is a critical time in the life of our church.
Our United Methodist family is diverse: Some are wounded or angered by this decision – particularly our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQI community; others are rejoicing and feel affirmed. Some are fearful, others are simply unsure what to think. There are no winners or losers here; whatever our response, our church will need all of us and we will need each other and the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we look toward a future we cannot yet see.
I stand with my colleagues on the Council of Bishops in calling for us to continue to be in prayer and to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us now. The work of the Commission on a Way Forward is under way; we can, I think, be hopeful that if we rely on the Holy Spirit, what will emerge will be what God intends for us.
Now we, as Easter people who believe in resurrection, have our work to do.
We may not know what comes next, but our calling is as clear as it has ever been. We are here to share the Good News of God’s gift of new life and amazing love. We are here to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in a world that is longing for freedom, justice, compassion, and mercy.
Please join me in praying for all those who are hurting or fearful in the wake of this decision. Remember, we are united in Christ, and the common ground we share as disciples of Jesus Christ remains firm even now as we pray for guidance and for our beloved church.
Beloved Church, it is my hope and prayer that we remain steadfast in prayers and hope that the Commission on a Way Forward will continue its work faithfully so that the special session of the General Conference in 2019 will bring fresh winds of the Holy Spirit to our church so that we can become serious about doing what God is calling us to do as disciples of Jesus Christ.
In Christ’s love,
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar
For those of you who have not seen it, here is the statement issued by Council of Bishops’ President Bruce R. Ough in response to the ruling. Read the statement