April 25, 2017
April 25, 2017
"I pray they will be one....They can be one just as
we are one...
...they will be made perfectly one...."
(John 17:21-23, CEB)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ of the Susquehanna Annual Conference,
Grace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, Healer of our Brokenness and Hope of the World!
The Judicial Council is meeting this week to address several critical matters that have been forwarded for their decision. As part of their deliberation the Judicial Council will act on a request for a declaratory decision from the South Central Jurisdiction on the Western Jurisdiction's election of the Rev. Karen Oliveto, a married lesbian, as a Bishop of the United Methodist Church. I realize that, as people of faith with love for Christ and the church, many of us are deeply concerned and anxious about the decision to be made by the Judicial Council. I, too, am deeply concerned and feel the anxiousness of the church.
I urge you to pray for God's Spirit to hover over the meeting of the Judicial Council. Please pray for the members of the Council and the individuals, families, congregations, and annual conferences that are directly connected to this case, as well as the whole church. Just as God's Spirit hovered over the waters of creation, so I believe God's Spirit will continue to breathe life into the church.
As we anticipate the Judicial Council's ruling I want to remind us of our church polity. Only the General Conference can speak for the church. No matter what decision is offered by the Judicial Council, the 2016 Book of Discipline remains as it is. Each decision will be very specific to one circumstance. Together we are more than any one action or any one decision. Let us not be so quick to act and decide that we fail to allow God's Holy Spirit to bring light, understanding, healing and hope to God's beloved Church.
The Council of Bishops has now called for a Special Session of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church to be held February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. The special session is limited to receiving and acting on a report from the Council of Bishops based on the recommendations of the Commission on A Way Forward. I urge the congregations and clergy of our beloved conference to pray for God's Spirit to continue to work in and through the Commission. As the General Conference mandated the task of the Commission, our church deserves the best chance for a way forward.
Our prayers for and commitment to the unity of the church must be intensified for such a time as this. Out of my deep gratitude for the genuine, loving spirit and faithfulness of the congregations and clergy of the Susquehanna Conference, I solicit your fervent prayers for this moment and for the leading of God's Spirit for our beloved church. God has always been faithful in the past, and we have all the confidence that God's faithfulness will remain steadfast.
Grace and Peace,
Jeremiah J. Park
CLICK HERE for PDF.