It has been my pleasure and privilege to serve as your Bishop since September 1, 2008. I thank you for your faithfulness, generosity and prayers as we together embrace our mission as United Methodists, “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
People who gathered at the 2016 General Conference experienced vibrant worship, powerful preaching, and a renewed commitment to starting new congregations, while engaging in global missions.
I believe that as a Church, we are more than the issues that divide us. All of the legislation and petitions proposed to the General Conference related to human sexuality were put on hold by the May 18 action to accept the leadership of the Council of Bishops. The Council of Bishops’ letter summarizing General Conference from President Bishop Ough can be found at http://www.umc.org/news-and-media/council-of-bishops-follow-tradition-with-letter-to-the-church
Some of you may have questions about what this means for our upcoming Annual Conference and how we will respect each other and demonstrate our love for all.
The following key points will help you understand the Council of Bishops’ letter:
- We are committed to the unity of The United Methodist Church and will seek to strengthen it.
- We are called to pray for more Christ-like unity with each other, rather than separation from one another.
- The General Conference and the Council of Bishops have not found agreement on language concerning human sexuality in the Book of Discipline that many experience as hurtful, contradictory and inadequate.
- We will lead the Church in every part of the world in times of worship, prayer and discernment, seeking God’s guidance.
- The Council of Bishops will form a commission to study all paragraphs in our Book of Discipline relating to human sexuality.
- The Council of Bishops will have conversation about how the Church can best live in grace with unity as our aim, including discussions about ways to avoid complaints, trials and harm. (Look for a follow-up letter from me about what Iowa United Methodist pastors can do.)
- All provisions of 2012 Book of Discipline on matters relating to human sexuality remain unchanged.
- As a bishop of the Church, I will uphold the Discipline of the Church and seek to be faithful to my consecration vows and lead with love.
We have a great deal to celebrate as United Methodists here in Iowa. We are helping children to learn to read, one hour at a time, one book at a time. We are actively engaged in mission around the corner and around the world. We are starting new congregations and revitalizing existing ones. In fact, our theme for the 2016 Annual Conference is “Therefore Go and Make Disciples.
As people who model our lives after our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we have one priority, a commission that began at our baptism: “Grow in Christian discipleship…go and share the love of Jesus with others.”
Bishop Julius C. Trimble