Bishops urged to work for 'big-tent' church

April 28, 2022 | by Heather Hahn

Bishops urged to work for 'big-tent' church

After long wishing that United Methodists could remain together in one body, Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey acknowledged that the time has come when some will break away.

“Every part of the body is important to the whole,” Harvey preached April 25 during her final address as the Council of Bishops president. “I also realize that it might be time to bless and send our sisters and brothers who cannot remain under the big tent.”

She spoke as the week’s Council of Bishops meeting got underway — just days before the planned May 1 launch of the Global Methodist Church, a new theologically conservative Methodist expression.

Harvey based her address on Romans 12, in which Paul proclaims: “We are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other.”

She expressed grief that some people have decided they belong elsewhere. However, Harvey also shared her hopes that the international United Methodist Church will remain a big tent — a welcoming home to Christians no matter their sexual or theological orientation.

“I believe in The United Methodist Church, and I believe in you,” she told her episcopal colleagues and those watching the bishops meet via Facebook. “Continue to be the people of God that boldly and courageously tells the story of a church that is big enough for the left, the right and the in-between.”

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Hahn is a multimedia news reporter for United Methodist News. Contact her at (615) 742-5470 or