Does anyone else find it humorous that the Bishop's met on Halloween? The lead sentence of uncertainty about the answers and questions related to restructuring is certainly curious. If the bishops don't know, or have opinions, on this subject... well, it's just a strange Halloween story! I wonder, beyond the official press release, what those meetings are like.
I love that the bishop from Zimbabwe reminded the group they were meeting in the region where Francis Asbury so actively established the church. Please remind us more about such a heart for growing the church. As I said yesterday, some of our churches are doing exceptional work for the Kingdom of God and we should celebrate the good that is occurring in UMC ministry.
I also appreciate that Goodpaster spoke to some of the ecclesiology and theology lacking in the CTA. It seems to me that the historic Methodist emphasis on the annual conference ought to be worthy of more discussion as we return to our roots. Further, given the global nature of United Methodism prioritizing the conference would allow us to create basic discipline and structure that could be implemented and useful internationally. An emphasis upon the annual conference continues to be the wise Methodist approach that can serve us well in the future. Of necessity this will call for a realignment and retooling of our approaches of the last 30 years that places too much weight on agencies, on bishops being out of the conference, and upon United Methodism in the United States. Consolidation of the agencies makes great sense IF they work together for all annual conferences. I see no reason to establish any super council, a bishop with oversight of the denomination, or anything that detracts from our historic Methodist approach with emphasis upon conference and church.
As we continue the discussions and prayers leading to GC 2012 it will be good to focus on the essentials of Methodism and move the conversation beyond Halloween toward All Saints.