Bishop Fairley's Report to The Kentucky Annual Conference

May 06, 2018

Greetings in the name of the Risen Christ!
In an atmosphere that was immersed in prayer, seeking first and foremost the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Council of Bishops gathered to help lead the church in a way forward through impasse over human sexuality. The Spirit was indeed present as our conversation included deep caring, honesty, tears, and oftentimes gut wrenching conversations. The council of Bishops made the decision to release our report to General Conference no later than July 8, 2018 giving it the chance to be translated  and edited  into other official languages represented in our global church.  We adopted the following:
Having received and considered the extensive work of the Commission on a Way Forward, the Council of Bishops will submit a report to the special session of the General Conference in 2019 That includes:

  • All three plans (The Traditionalist Plan.  The One Church Plan and The Connectional Conference Plan) for a way forward considered by the Commission and the Council.
  • The Council’s recommendation of The One Church Plan.
  • An historical narrative of the Council’s discernment process regarding all three plans.

In order to invite the church to go deeper into the journey the Council and Commission has been on, the Council makes all the information considered by the Commission and the Council of Bishops available to the delegates of the General Conference and acknowledges there is support for each of the three plans within the Council. The values of our global church are reflected in all three plans. The majority of the Council recommends The One Church Plan as the best way forward for The United Methodist Church.

It is critically important to understand that three official actions are included in this one formal motion and rationale.

  1. The Council of Bishops is forwarding three complete plans as part of its report to The General Conference: The Traditionalist Plan,  The One Church Plan and The Connectional Conference Plan.  This will mean that the General Conference will have all the plans in front of them for consideration, and has the right to adopt, reject or amend any of them.
  2. After much prayer, conversation, and polls, the preference of the majority of active Bishops on the Council was to recommend one plan to the General Conference and for that recommendation to be The One Church Plan. Please know that there was also significant support for the other two plans as well.
  3. The Council is going to share the full body of the Commission and Council’s work in order for the delegates to have the resources they need as they decide the best way forward for The United Methodist Church.

Please join me in this continued season of prayer as we move toward General Conference February 23-26 2019 in St. Louis. The General Conference will now have the last say in charting the way forward. We as a Council of Bishops have done our best to lead the church forward so that the mission, vision, and proclamation of the gospel as good news may spread both spiritual and social holiness into a world in desperate need of redemption, reconciliation and hope. Therefore, let us now pray for each delegation that they may  seek what is the good a perfect will of God. It is obvious that the ultimate way has, is, and will be charted by Jesus Christ because He is the Lord of the Church.  The Church belongs to Him not us. 
I know that many will be experiencing either hope, despair, or pain in light of the Council’s action. It is for this reason that I am asking each of you to go deeper in your prayers for one another, and especially for The United Methodist Church.  I am asking that we all remember

  1. God is still the Alpha and Omega. 
  2. Jesus is still Lord of the Church. 
  3. We still need to reach the last, lost, and the least.
  4. We still need to be in community with each other.
  5. God is not done with us yet. 

Remember our mandate never changes: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of. The Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  -Matthew 28:19-20.

Always remember that I count it my highest joy to serve as the Bishop of The Kentucky & Red Bird Annual Conferences, but above all please know how much I love you.
In His Peace,

Bishop Leonard E. Fairley