BOM and Board of Laity issue joint statement to open AC17

June 15, 2017

Sarah Ames and Won Park representing the New England Conference Board of Laity. Charlotte Pridgen-Randolph and Mark Demers representing the Board of Ordained Ministry.
Across our denomination, lay and clergy alike anxiously awaited the recent decision of the Judicial Council regarding the status of Bishop Karen Oliveto. It was met with both confusion and hope. The confusion was caused by the fact that, even though there was a verdict of guilty, the Judicial Council chose to take no further action. At the same time, many expressed the hope that passing any further action to bodies other than the Judicial Council would give the Commission on the Way Forward the time to do its work on finding a path to unity.
Following the Judicial Council’s decision, Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the Council of Bishops, expressed the various concerns this way: “We acknowledge that the decision does not help to ease the disagreements, impatience and anxiety that permeates The United Methodist Church over the matter of human sexuality, and particularly this case. Our compassion and prayers of intercession extend to all those who are hurt, relieved, confused or fearful.”
In the New England Conference, the Board of Ordained Ministry respectfully maintains its current posture with regard to our discernment with those called to ministry. We will continue to look for the Holy Spirit’s indicators of calling to see that God has gifted and empowered those articulating a call. This is the guiding principle in what compels us to license, commission and ordain.
Our love for The United Methodist Church compels us to pray for the unity of the church with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We continue to hold in our prayers the important work of the Commission on the Way Forward.