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January 6, 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Grace and peace be with you. On January 3, 2020, the Council of Bishops issued a press release reporting that United Methodist Traditionalists, Centrists, Progressives & Bishops have signed an agreement aimed at separation.

In the Desert Southwest Conference we are aware that we are not all of one mind when it comes to beliefs about human sexuality. As your district superintendents held charge/church conferences this fall the following common observations were made:

  • There is a sense of affection that the members of our churches have for one another, even with the differences in Biblical understanding.
  • I Corinthians 13, Galatians 3:28 and Colossians 3:12-15 were repeatedly lifted up as important scriptural guidance in our communal life.
  • There is a strong commitment in our churches to continue doing the significant ministries of mission and outreach.
  • We share the recognition that the work Christ calls us to do unites us in a powerful way.

As we receive the word about the agreement in the press release, those serving on your Appointive Cabinet want to encourage you to rely on the leading of God’s Spirit. It’s easy to jump to conclusions or make assumptions. Let us work hard not to move in that direction. The recommendations in the press release will still need to be presented at General Conference 2020. Instead let us continue to be in prayer and discussion with one another. Let us commit ourselves to allowing love and grace be our guide during this season. That is what our Bishop has encouraged us to do. Bishop Bob also mentioned in his letter that details would become clearer as we draw closer to General Conference 2020. We will look for that information together with you.

The Appointive Cabinet believes that this is a time to trust in God’s presence, to hold hands with one another and to have patience while we move toward General Conference. This is also a time to continue to engage fully in the mission and ministry of our churches, work that you are doing well. There are people who need to know that God’s transformative love is available in real and tangible ways through your congregation. Let that continue to be our focus for this time.

Know that your Appointive Cabinet holds you in prayer. May the peace of Christ be with you, and with all in our denomination.

In faith and love,

Susan, Dan, Mark, Nancy and David.
Desert Southwest Conference Appointive Cabinet

Ephesians 4:1-3 – I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Colossians 3:14 — Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Council of Bishops Press Release – https://www.unitedmethodistbishops.org/newsdetail/united-methodist-traditionalists-centrists-progressives-bishops-sign-agreement-aimed-at-separation-13133654

Bishop Bob’s Response – https://dscumc.org/blog/2020/01/03/response-to-protocol-of-reconciliation/

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