FROM THE BISHOP
R. LAWSON BRYAN
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I flew to Chicago Saturday to meet with the Council of Bishops as we finalize our recommendations to the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference. As we are meeting, I want to thank you for your prayers as well as share what is on my heart.
This season has been challenging yet full of hope, and I am thankful for the gracious and prayerful way we have walked through it. The faithful laity and clergy of the South Georgia Conference are the ones who will decide the future of our conference.
It is my understanding that a summary of recommendations will be released following the COB meeting. Whatever recommendations come from the Council of Bishops, let us receive them as helpful information as we study them, reflect on them, and evaluate them using the values identified in our district dialogues.
Between now and General Conference 2019 I want to work together with all parts of our annual conference to define what a Way Forward needs to look like for South Georgia and then prepare the way so that no one feels the need to leave our conference. We are the only ones who can make that choice. We can choose to be Alive Together in Christ. And we can define what “together” means for South Georgia.
My challenge for all of us is this: let us be Alive Together in Christ following the process outlined in Canoeing The Mountains: State your convictions. Stay calm. Stay connected. Stay the course.
Before General Conference 2019, we are the South Georgia Conference. After General Conference 2019, we will be the South Georgia Conference.
Stay Calm. Stay Connected. Stay the Course.
Where we are and where we’ve been
Following the COB meeting in March, I shared with you my reflections on the overall process up to this point. I continue to ponder the question: What is Christ’s way forward for doing mission and ministry in the worldwide United Methodist Church?
A few things I want to remind us of:
Delegates to GC2019 will spend the months from the release of the recommendations until GC2019 studying and evaluating the COB recommendations. They will also confer among themselves as to what amendments or alternate proposals to bring to GC2019.
The Way Forward will be determined by the laity and clergy delegates to GC2019, which will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, February 23-26.
The South Georgia Conference has been proactive in equipping ourselves for meaningful involvement in the Way Forward process.
Laity and clergy leaders of the conference have met with a member of The Commission on a Way Forward to understand the process.
District Dialogues have been held in each area of the conference to enable laity and clergy in each district to give consideration to the values that guide us, what makes us United Methodist, and to study the three sketches.
We have been asked to read Canoeing The Mountains as part of our preparation for annual conference.
Time has been set aside at Annual Conference to consider all that is before us and to hear from our General Conference delegates.
Once the recommendations of the COB has been released we will announce additional district opportunities for dialogue.
Updated information can be found on the South Georgia website at www.sgaumc.org/wayforward.
We are planning to have an information meeting for the entire annual conference within two weeks of the end of GC2019 so our delegates can provide accurate information about the outcome of GC2019.