GC19 Episcopal Message from MoUMethodist on Vimeo.

This week, St. Louis will be the site of a global gathering of United Methodists at the America’s Center, known as The Dome.

Over the course of three days, 864 delegates, hundreds of volunteers and a couple thousand more guests will gather together as a denominational body to discuss a way forward for The United Methodist Church regarding human sexuality and the resulting questions about church unity.

I hear concerns from the local churches that they are worried decisions made at the General Conference will affect their ability to serve their mission field. Or, their work will be disrupted.

Others are listening to our conversation and wondering if there is a place for me in The United Methodist Church.

The work of the discerning an option that maximizes the presence of the United Methodist witness, offers as much contextual differences as possible, honors our scriptures, and provides as much unity as possible is now in the hands of the General Conference.

Missouri is represented by six clergy and six lay delegates in this work. Please pray for them continually as they do the work.

Pray also for the 200 volunteers from Missouri and Illinois Great Rivers Conferences, who have sacrificed time and money to serve in a hospitality capacity. We hope to be a prayerful presence and offer radical hospitality to our guests throughout the session. I give thanks for these persons and their time.

Friends, one thing is certain. The mission of the Church is unchanged. We exist to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The Missouri Conference’s part in that work is to “relentlessly lead our churches to become outwardly focused and spiritually centered Christ followers.” We will continue to do this important work.

Our local churches are needed in our communities in Missouri. Sunday’s coming, friends, and there are people out there that need to be reminded that God loves them. Always remember that God desperately loves you. And, God desperately loves the world. And we are called to be a bridge between the two.

I invite you to join me in prayer for the future of our church. As Paul writes in Ephesians, let us continue to “make every effort to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” May you join with me in prayer and in spirit as we meet together to discern our future.