The Monday gathering of the Annual Conference Session added an hour-long, open-mic Conversation on the Way Forward to give Conference attendees the opportunity for 90-seconds at the microphone to speak.
Bishop Laurie announced at the beginning of the hour that its purpose was to expand upon the dialogue from the prior day's discussion, which was a panel discussion among several General Conference delegates. The bishop expressed the importance of Conference members also having a voice in the discussion.
Prior to the speakers taking to the mic, a video was shown to Session attendees, which effectively demonstrated the difference between one's position on a matter and their interests, to help shape the dialogue.
Roughly 35 people were able to take a turn at the mic, with around 20 members of the clergy and approximately 15 lay members. There was a number that spoke to how to address the issue, and a number shared personal experiences or revelations.
At the close of the hour, Bishop Laurie told the Conference Session she did not know what the way forward would be, but she said, for her, the dialogue that hour was rich, powerful and spirit-filled.
The bishop thanked everyone for listening to each other and expressed hope for the conversation to continue.
The Bishop's Council for the national denomination is set to submit a report to the Special Session of the General Conference in February 2019 with a recommendation on a specific plan as the best way forward for The United Methodist Church. Watch the video
from the Council of Bishops recommendation of the One Church Plan model.