Bishop McKee Provides Clarity On One Church Resolution

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On Tuesday, June 4, voting members of the North Texas Annual Conference approved a One Church Resolution by a vote of 591 to 144.

The One Church Resolution as approved states, “Therefore be it resolved that as a people of the North Texas Conference we aspire to behave as One Church Congregations and Conference. Be it further resolved that: we will pray for one another; we will allow for contextual ministry and pastoral care and not impede the work of others in ministry; we will seek to find common ground and actively be in ministry with people who are different from us; we will not speak ill of one another and we will model that all people are of sacred worth.”

The key word in this resolution is “aspire.” To aspire to something is to direct one’s hopes and actions today toward achieving something tomorrow. Passage of this resolution signals that the vast majority of lay and clergy members of the North Texas Annual Conference hope for and intend to work toward the day when the North Texas Conference and the wider United Methodist Church becomes a Church in which pastors and churches are granted the flexibility to reach their unique missional contexts. At the same time, they are afforded protections to not act contrary to their convictions. The affirmation of this resolution is a statement by the lay and clergy members of the North Texas Annual Conference that they desire space for traditionalists to continue to offer ministry as they have in the past, space for progressives to exercise a more complete ministry with LGBTQ persons, and space for all United Methodists to remain connected. This resolution is about what the North Texas Annual Conference hopes to become in the future.

The One Church Resolution also calls on the clergy and laity of the North Texas Annual Conference to live into an important aspect of the scriptural vision for the Church. The Book of James commands us to “not speak evil against one another” (4:11) and to “pray for one another” (5:6). In these days, as we continue in ministry together despite our disagreements on various matters, including ministry with LGBTQ persons, these timeless words of wisdom are critical for all of us.

The One Church Resolution did not change our current Book of Discipline. Only the General Conference can do that. The future of our conference is yet to be. For today, I, as your bishop, the cabinet, clergy and churches still live and do ministry in light of the current Book of Discipline.

My hope, as captured in some of my favorite verses in the scriptures, is that we live and do ministry together “with all humility and gentleness … making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3).

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Published: Wednesday, June 12, 2019