Greetings from Los Angeles! I'm in the great state of California this weekend as a variety of leaders gather for the Fresh United Methodism Summit. Parts of the program will be live-streamed starting today at 4 PM. — you can find details on the gathering and the livestream on the WJ website.
It's been another interesting week to be United Methodist. Since the Western Jurisdiction's active bishops released their Declaration of Safe Harbor, more than 6,100 United Methodists have signed to support their action. If you haven't already seen the statement, you can read it here.
The Wesleyan Covenant Association met over the past weekend to continue their organizing for a new, traditionalist church. Leaders of the WCA believe that a breakup of The United Methodist Church is both inevitable and necessary. They have formally endorsed the Indianapolis Plan which calls for the formation of several new denominations.
A few days ago, Bishop Peggy Johnson, serving Eastern Pennsylvania, wrote to her conference that she will not refer complaints related to homosexuality to trial. You may remember that Bishop John Schol said much the same to the Greater New Jersey Conference when it met in special session last month.
In the West, our bishops have been explicit in their refusal to do harm, understanding this as a justice issue. Some Bishops including Johnson and Schol, are arriving at much the same conclusion. Still others issuing calls for a non-binding moratorium until General Conference 2020, like Council of Bishops President Kenneth H. Carter, clearly wishing to avoid harmful trials.
Yesterday brought the complicated news of a complaint resolved in the Iowa Conference against Rev. Anna Blaedel. The complaint was brought against her for acknowledging that she is homosexual by John Lomperis, a director of the Washington, D.C. based Institute of Religion and Democracy.
Finally, United Methodist News Service shared a story today on the eight conservative United Methodist bishops who are calling for "deep conversations" around a future with multiple "new ;expressions of Methodism."
Just another wild week in United Methodism.