The General and Jurisdictional Conference Delegation of the Louisiana Annual Conference recently endorsed a document from the Council of Bishops titled, "For the Sake of a New World, We See a New Church: A Call to Action." The document outlines suggested changes in The United Methodist Church, some of which will require General Conference legislation, while others will not.
The Rev. Ellen Alston, head of the Louisiana delegation said, "While our members have many ideas about specific actions and structural details, our delegation is in complete accord that the Church needs to refine our focus for mission and effectiveness. We are not currently seeing the results the world needs and our Church aspires to achieve, but we are profoundly encouraged by a new spirit that is emerging with passion for outreach that will make a positive difference.
"Our delegation unanimously affirms the directions and hope found in the Bishops' statement. We are already seeing new seeds of vitality in our Conference and elsewhere, and we view the proposed changes the bishops have called for as ways to cultivate those seeds that will bear wonderful fruits."
The Bishops' letter says, "We see a new church. It is a renewed church that is clear about its mission and confident about its future, a church that is always reaching out, inviting, alive, agile, and resilient."
Echoing the views of the Iowa Delegation, the Louisiana Delegation affirms:
- The opening statement of the letter, which encourages hopeful imagination in responding to the critical needs of our world.
- The call for a redirection of the flow of attention, energy, and resources of the denomination to fostering and sustaining an increase in the number of vital congregations effective in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
- The consolidation of program and administrative agencies to help align our efforts toward our shared mission and ministry.
The Louisiana delegation recognizes that in all likelihood, there will be changes to The Call to Action, but feels the statement sets the right direction, raises up important topics, and represents a welcome departure from business as usual.