to Annual Council Vote
As many of you know I was at the recent Annual Council of the General Conference (GC) where a discussion took place on addressing church reconciliation. Even though, by now, you have heard the outcome, I want to briefly share my perspective.
I am attaching a copy of the document as revised and approved last Tuesday. There was extensive discussion even though it was time limited and at least 80% of the points raised were directed toward some level of change. However, the document was passed by an approximate 58% majority vote.
The first two pages outline a process which I feel we should be following whenever we are dealing with differences within our churches as well as between levels of the organization. The final page addresses the next step and indicates that that has not yet been developed. I believe and pray that this will give the World Church time to develop a more transparent process and also give time to the divisions to come to an understanding of what responsibilities lie at each level.
One of the points where disagreement was most strongly stated during the discussion was the attempt to place policies, voted actions, and fundamental beliefs at a common level of equal importance. Though I see the general direction of document being a positive model to follow, I would hope that as it is used differentiation will be made between Biblical truths and community governance issues.
Another issue that came from the discussion was the potential of an escalation of issues to GC administrative involvement. This could lead to a top-down model of church governance rather than the body of believers wrestling with Spirit-led, Biblical decisions.
How does this affect the Oregon conference and our focus on “members in ministry?”
We are still engaged in supporting God’s call to each person. We have, in accordance with GC guidelines, been ordaining men and commissioning women to pastoral roles at this time and will continue to abide by these General Conference directives. We will continue to support our whole pastoral team in fulfilling their call of God to ministry and will do all we can to empower all fulfilling God’s mission throughout our conference. Our approach to allowing God to guide His church and call whom He wills is still our mandate. I would ask you to continue to pray that the next part of this discussion will continue to be Spirit-led and inspired.
Oregon Conference president