The following is a press release from umc.org:
Nashville, Tenn.: As plans are underway for the establishment of a Commission on a Way Forward, the Council of Bishops is setting in motion a parallel prayer initiative called “Praying Our Way Forward.”
“We are a people of prayer and enjoin the entire church to fervently pray that the Holy Spirit will breakthrough and lead us into a future with hope,” said Bishop Bruce R. Ough, Council president, in a statement following a meeting of the executive committee in July.
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett of the North Alabama Conference, who chairs the “Council Life Together” team, and Bishop Al Gwinn, who leads the prayer subcommittee of the Council of Bishops, were chosen to design and guide a complementary prayer component that involves the whole church.
In the first phase of the endeavor, which has already begun and continues through mid-November, the bishops of the church were asked to pledge 15 minutes a day in prayer for the selection and initial work of the Commission on A Way Forward.
Thus far, 84 resident and retired bishops have committed to pray for the work of the Commission for 15 minutes per day between now and mid-November. This equals 1260 minutes/21 hours of prayer a day offered by bishops for the selection and initial efforts of the Commission.
“This initiative provides an opportunity for every member of the Council of Bishops to participate in the important work of the Commission. Our daily focused prayer is a way for us – individually and collectively – to actively seek God’s leadership at this critical juncture in the life of our church,” said Bishop Wallace-Padgett.
The entire church will be invited to take part during the second phase, the details of which will be announced in late September. The hashtag is #prayourwayforward.
Bishop Gwinn pointed to the success of the 131-day prayer observance for the 2016 General Conference as an indication of the willingness of church members to devote time to prayer for the church’s future.
“The people called United Methodists have always been a people who believe in the power of prayer,” said Bishop Gwinn. “Our recent 131 days of prayer for General Conference has reminded all of us that United Methodists have not lost their belief in calling out to God! So, it is only natural that we should include the whole family in special prayer as the Commission moves forward in its work!”
Members of the Commission on a Way Forward are expected to be named by the end of August, with a target date of October for the initial meeting. In November, the Council of Bishops will consider the matter of a called special session of the General Conference in 2018.
Diane Degnan firstname.lastname@example.org
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