A Way Forward

Way Forward report released in all four official languages of General Conference

From the Commission on a Way Forward: This report to the Special Session of the General Conference from the Commission on a Way Forward is submitted out of a desire to serve our whole church and particularly the delegations who will gather in February, 2019. It is offered in the context of a global church on four continents, in the four official languages of the church, and in an attempt to share material that honors this reality. This report is the work of the Commission on a Way Forward and is shared directly with the special session of the General Conference.

Here is the link to the English Version.
Here is the link to the French Version.
Here is the link to the Portuguese Version.
Here is the link to the Swahili Version.

District Meeting Dates to Discuss Way Forward Report

Bishop Lawson Bryan will be in each of the Conference’s six districts to discuss the Way Forward report with clergy and laity.

  • August 16 - Northwest District | 6:30 pm - 8 pm at St. Luke UMC, Columbus
  • August 20 - Northeast District | 6:30 pm - 8 pm at Pittman Park UMC, Statesboro
  • August 27 - South Central District | 6:30 pm - 8 pm at Valdosta FUMC
  • September 6 - Coastal District | 6:30 pm - 8 pm at Hinesville FUMC
  • September 9 - North Central District | 6 pm - 7:30 pm at Riverside UMC, Macon
  • September 18 - Southwest District | 6:30 pm - 8 pm at Avalon UMC, Albany

Click here for a word from Bishop Bryan on how to prepare for your district meeting.

Judicial Council releases October docket; Way Forward plan included in documentation posted on website

(UMNS) A request by the United Methodist Council of Bishops for a ruling on the constitutionality of three legislative plans heading to the 2019 special General Conference is among the docket items being considered this fall by the denomination’s top court. Judicial Council will meet Oct. 23-26 in Zurich, Switzerland. As part of the Judicial Council’s process, The Book of Discipline requires that requests for a declaratory decision, including relevant documents such as legislative petitions, be posted on the Judicial Council website.

Docket No. 1018-12
IN RE: Petition for Declaratory Decision from the Council of Bishops regarding the constitutionality of three sets of legislative petitions known as the One Church Plan, Connectional Conference Plan, and Traditional Plan.
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Click here to see the full docket.

Ask The UMC: Can you explain Way Forward plans, COB recommendation?

Could you explain the plans of the Commission on a Way Forward and the Council of Bishops recommendation?  

The Council of Bishops considered three plans developed by the Commission on a Way Forward. The Council of Bishops has indicated its majority recommendation for the One Church Plan, which could allow for different approaches in different places.  Their report to the special called 2019 General Conference will also include information about the other two plans.

One Church Plan (recommended): The one-church model would allow different United Methodists in different places to make different decisions regarding ministry with or by LGBTQ persons rather than maintaining a single standard that operates everywhere throughout the worldwide church. This plan would remove restrictive language from the Book of Discipline and give conferences, churches and pastors the flexibility to “uniquely reach their missional context in relation to human sexuality without changing the connectional nature of The United Methodist Church."

United Methodists in central conferences in Africa, Asia and Europe would retain the authority to adapt the Book of Discipline and could continue to include their traditional language and values. 

This plan would also protect the rights of United Methodists whose theological convictions will not allow them to perform same-sex weddings or ordain LGBTQ people.  

Traditionalist Plan: This plan would affirm the current language about homosexuality in the Book of Discipline and seek to strengthen enforcement for violations of church law.

Connectional-Conference Plan: This plan would create three connectional conferences based on theology or perspective, each having clearly defined values (accountability, contextualization and justice). The three connectional conferences would function throughout the worldwide church and the five existing U.S. jurisdictions would be abolished. 

Adaptations to the Book of Discipline would be allowed by each connectional conference. Annual conferences would determine their affiliation with a connectional conference. Local churches who choose a branch other than the one chosen by their annual conference could vote to join another conference. This plan would require multiple amendments to the denomination’s constitution.

The full report and legislation will be available following translation into the official languages of the General Conference. The estimated release date is July 8, 2018.

The 2019 General Conference will receive the report and legislation and make decisions about whether or how to change our current connectional relationships.


Click here to view a timeline for the Way Forward conversation.