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Bishop's Call to Prayer regarding human sexuality

. 2 min read
November
7, 2014
Oklahoma City, Okla.: The Council
of Bishops issued a statement concerning human sexuality, addressing their
diverse perspectives and calling the people of The United Methodist Church to
be in prayer, both for their leaders and for one another.
The statement reads:

As bishops of The United
Methodist Church, our hearts break because of the divisions that exist within
the church. We have been in constant prayer and conversation and affirm
our consecration vow “to guard the faith, to seek the unity and to
exercise the discipline of the whole church.” We recognize that we are one
church in a variety of contexts around the world and that bishops and the
church are not of one mind about human sexuality. Despite our differences, we
are united in our commitment to be in ministry for and with all people. We are also united in our resolve to lead the church together to fulfill
its mandate-to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the
world. As we do so, we call on all United Methodists to pray for us and for one
another.

The bishops worked together on
the statement during several executive sessions during their weeklong meeting
in Oklahoma City. 

The statement came near the close
of the Council’s meeting, which opened on Monday with the bishops reaffirming
the commitments they made when they were consecrated. During the president’s
address, Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. of the San Francisco Episcopal Area asked
the bishops if they would stand with him to reaffirm their vows as he prayed.
Bishop Brown called for unity within the church and encouraged finding
“places where we can agree to work together and find common ground.”
 
“Leading a church, such as
ours, with a diversity of perspectives means we must let people know we hear
them, and that we are listening both to those voices that are in the majority
and those that are in the minority so that all know they’re heard,” said
Bishop Brown.  
In November 2013, the Council
voted to form a task force which would lead conversations about human
sexuality, race and gender with the goal of coming to a shared theological
understanding amid differing perspectives and cultures. The task force will
continue its work.

“The Council of Bishops is
charged to lead the church in a time of prayer and discernment. The task force
will seek to work for the council as the conversation continues,” said
Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, who chairs the task force. “In a worldwide church
serving in very diverse contexts and composed of faithful Christians who have
different opinions, we, the bishops, are committed to pastoral care for all our
people as we continue to find a way forward.”