The United Methodist Church is in the midst of a worldwide time of focused prayer for the mission of The United Methodist Church to make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and for the ongoing work of the Commission on a Way Forward. This season of prayer began in 2016 as the bishops of the church were asked to pledge 15 minutes a day in prayer for the selection and initial work of the Commission on a Way Forward. It continues in 2017 with each annual conference hosting a week of intentional prayer.
We are asking every clergy and lay member of the East Ohio Conference to pray specifically for the work of the Commission beginning Sunday, July 30 and continuing each day through Saturday, August 5, 2017. In addition, we ask that every congregation include a time of prayer for the Commission on the Way Forward during worship on July 29 and 30.
The 2016 General Conference gave a specific mandate to the Council of Bishops to “lead The United Methodist Church in discerning and proposing a way forward through the present impasse related to human sexuality and to explore options that help to maintain and strengthen the unity of the church.” In response, the Council proposed – and the 2016 General Conference approved – the formation of a Commission that will assist in helping us find our way forward. The Commission on a Way Forward has been named by the Council of Bishops, and the 32 members have begun their work.
“Finding our way forward is the work of the whole church. As United Methodists we believe in the power of prayer and holy conferencing. Every annual conference is asked to be active preparers of the way forward by making a commitment to pray for the work of the commission, and by engaging in meaningful dialogue.” (Bishop Tracy S. Malone, September 9, 2016)
In her Episcopal Address during Annual Conference 2017, Malone asked that each East Ohio Conference congregation do something bold in this next ministry year, that they connect with the Four Areas of Focus, and that they do these three things:
- Pray for the Commission on a Way Forward,
- Participate in the a Way Forward conversations that will take place in our conference beginning this fall and continuing through the spring of 2018, and
- Stay encouraged and focused on the mission of Christ and his Church.