WJ Biblical Obedience Network Calls for Prayer Vigils During COB Meeting
By the Rev. April Hall Cutting
Western Jurisdiction Biblical Obedience Network
CORVALLIS, Oregon—Churches throughout the Western Jurisdiction are scheduling prayer vigils during the fall meeting of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, Nov. 4-9. The gatherings will pray that the bishops will embrace the vision of "Biblical Obedience" offered by the Western Jurisdiction as a way forward for the denomination.
The Church in Ocean Park United Methodist Church, Santa Monica, California, will hold a vigil on Sunday, Nov. 4 at noon. Churches in the Rocky Mountain Annual Conference are asked to include a specific time of prayer during worship on Nov. 4. Other events are being announced daily.
"We will be praying that the bishops will join the Western Jurisdiction in our commitment to biblical obedience," states the Rev. Jeanne Knepper of Portland, Oregon. "We pray that our spiritual leaders will understand why this is important."
The United Methodist Church has been divided for 40 years about homosexuality. At the 2012 General Conference, Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, president of the Council, acknowledged that delegates who are "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have been hurt by the actions of the General Conference and the polity of the UMC." She called for the Church to "find ways to move forward … as a worldwide church in our diversity."
That same week, Retired Bishop Melvin G. Talbert urged clergy and congregations who support same-sex marriage and full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (GLBTQ) persons to live out their convictions. "The time has come for us to act in defiance of unjust and immoral and derogatory words of discrimination and laws that are doing harm to our GLBTQ sisters and brothers," Talbert declared. In July, the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops assigned him to give supervisory oversight to this grass-roots movement of "Biblical Obedience" in the jurisdiction.
The Council of Bishops may be discussing responses to the movement during the November meeting. The prayer vigils provide a way for those seeking change to join in solidarity, calling on God's Spirit to help bring change.
Individuals and churches that participate in the prayer vigil are invited to share their experience at www.facebook.com/IStandWithBishopTalbert or via email to Janet Gollery McKeithen at JanetMcKeithen@yahoo.com.
Learn more at: www.biblicalobedience.org.