I spent the early part of the week in Boston, Massachusetts. The reason for this quick, three day turnaround was a meeting with The Episcopal/United Methodist Dialogue Group. I have been a participant of this group since 2015 and was a part of a similar group in New Zealand since 2009.
I have suggested to some that since the United Methodist Special Session of the General Conference in St. Louis in February of this year I have questioned the benefit and the appropriateness of this ongoing ecumenical conversation, more to the point, of the prospect of an eventual Full Communion relationship. In fact, when I last gathered with my Dialogue Colleagues following the aforementioned Conference, I confessed to them that I was possibly running out of steam, that is to say, I was struggling with the prospect of moving towards Full Communion with a Church having decided to exclude a significant population of their Church, that is, the LGBTQ Community.
That conflict remains a very real one for me, however, I want to say that after this brief meeting in Boston, I have somewhat amended my previous inclination to walk away from this work. It occurred to me during this meeting with ecumenical friends, sisters and brothers with whom I have walked for four years, it is exceedingly important that we Episcopalians continue to stand with our United Methodist mates as they figure out where and how the Holy Spirit is leading them.
This is indeed an enormously challenging time for United Methodists and it is conceivable that schism will be the result of their deliberations. Next May, United Methodists will have their General Conference and many are suggesting that this 2 week meeting will determine the future of their Church.
And so, I have decided to continue to stand with and pray for and support my ecumenical friends. This is not similar at all to when we remain with those we love who are experiencing significant challenges in their lives. We are called to continue to stand with and pray for and support them, Jesus would do no less. Please join with me as we continue to pray for our United Methodist Sisters and Brothers.