We, the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church, acknowledge the serious differences that exist among United Methodists on issues related to homosexuality. These differences are also reflected within the Council of Bishops. We have been praying together and have been talking with one another in a new spirit of honesty and openness that is both painful and hopeful.
The Council understands the present language in the Book of Discipline to be a faithful expression of faith and discipleship and are committed, collectively and individually, to teach and uphold our church's doctrine and discipline.
We prayerfully support the General Conference delegates as they struggle with these issues during the current session. As General Superintendents and servants of the whole church, we affirm and respect the legislative authority of the General Conference. Together we remain open to God's continued guidance.
With the entire church, we seek to address all issues, including homosexuality, with biblical, theological, and personal integrity, and in ways that reflect God's love incarnate in Jesus Christ. As Bishops, we share in the church's pilgrimage and pray anew what we prayed at the Table: "By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world..."
Our life together is not based upon uniformity of mind or conscience. We are a community of grace centered in Jesus Christ who makes us one.
We call upon all United Methodists to join us in bearing witness to God's gift of unity in Jesus Christ.
General Conference Webmaster: Susan Brumbaugh
PETS Creator: John Brawn
1996 United Methodist General Conference