Ten teams of DSC Way Forward were convened at the June session of Annual Conference and they are hard at work. I have passion around the “why” questions of our Way Forward, so I joined the theology team. We have been diving deeply into the Wesleyan Quadrilateral (Scripture, Tradition, Experience, and Reason) and how it informs our discussions about homosexual persons. We have also reviewed and remembered our Wesleyan emphases like God’s grace expressed in three ways, faith and good works, mission and service. All the Wesleyan emphases are discussed in the 2016 Book of Discipline ¶302 p. 51-54. It has been so helpful to review the understandings of God that are at the core of our United Methodism.
Through the theology team, I found a resource that has been very valuable and highly recommend every church use for discussion. It is a study called United Methodists Divided: Understanding Our Differences over Homosexuality by Dale McConkey. McConkey, a United Methodist pastor and professor of sociology, discusses the Scriptures, Tradition, Experience, and Reason from the viewpoint of traditionalists and progressives in the debate about homosexuality. His presentation is balanced and respectful. I learned things about both sides of the debate, and I rejoiced hearing my own heartfelt theology and beliefs shared with such clarity. I hope every church will use this resource as we consider our way forward. The theology team is developing a theological statement that will help frame our discussions about the future for in the midst of this we all want to be faithful to God and to follow the way of Christ. We are also developing an example using the Wesleyan Quadrilateral and two of the Bible passages often used in the debate. Both of these resources will be released on the DSC website in the coming weeks.
Other teams have been working on dreaming a new Methodism, legal issues, financial matters, communications, disaffiliation, amicable separation, connections with groups beyond our conference, conversations, and spiritual resources. If you have a passion around any of these topics, you are still welcome to join a team. Just go to the DSC website at https://dscumc.org/way-forward/ and click on Sign Up for a Team. Every team is working diligently on their topics keeping the Special Session of Annual Conference on September 14, 2019 in mind. Please pray for all those involved in this important work. There are so many people giving of their time and talents to help us discern God’s path for us in the coming months and years. We trust that Christ is leading us and that his way will lead us to life.
“Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us; glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, forever and always. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)