The United Methodist Centrist Movement, Love Prevails, and others have reported the following information: “The “Love Your Neighbor Coalition” announced tonight that the Bishops are in an executive session reviewing a plan for schism that had been negotiated by a broad spectrum of UM leaders to be completed at special session of General Conference in 2018. There would be a moratorium on trials associated with violations of the BOD in regards to matters of LGBT inclusion during that time. Various delegates are beginning to relay on Twitter that their delegations were briefed on this matter this evening. We’d ask you all to please join us in prayer for the United Methodist Church.” Thank you centrist movement.
So, it’s time? It seems so. Details are sketchy, but it seems that in two years, there is the very real potential for the UMC to split. A pastor friend of mine once told me that his experience had been that when people start talking about divorce, it is just about details and not really about the possibility. The conversation entertains the possibility. The knee jerk reaction of course is to find someone to blame for what is happening, but it is not time for that. There is a natural tendency to mourn but it is also not time for that. There is even the tendency for denial and it’s not time for that. It’s time to pray.
I know, I know, it sounds cliche, but that is the time it is. Good old fashioned fall to the ground prayer. No for anything in particular save for the wisdom and guidance of our leaders. If we are to divide, then prayer will be necessary so that we can indeed do so in a way that allows us all to move forward for the work of God. If we are to stay together and come back from this, then it will require the same. If we are honest, I think that most of us came to this General Conference season with the feeling that things would not be the same after. I think all of us hoped they would not be. We don’t know a lot of details. We don’t know a lot of the nuts and bolts. We don’t even have official confirmation that it has occurred. We all feel like it is time though. For what we have varying ideas about, but it’s time.
No matter what happens from this moment, everything just changed. The casual talk about possibly splitting is much more real. The conversations about divorce are not theoretical anymore. If this proves to be some sort of elaborate hoax, it does not change a whole lot because it is a believable hoax. I posed the question in the title “It’s time?” The answer is yes. What it is time for remains to be sen, but no matter what happens everything has changed. That is not a bad thing, or a good thing necessarily, but simply a thing. It’s time…time to wait to see what is next. Time to pray for the success of whatever comes from this. Time to rejoice that this long time of tension may be coming to an end, even if not the end you have wanted and prayed for. Is it time? Yes…for what we will have to wait and see.