In his Episcopal address at the 2019 Annual Conference, Bishop John Schol declared his desire for the United Meth-odists of Greater New Jersey to separate from the United Methodist Church. His declaration was in response to the recent decision by the Special General Confer-ence to adhere to the Traditional Plan that “affirms the present policies in The Book of Discipline which does not allow same gender weddings and the ordination of gays and lesbians.” Needless to say, Bishop
Schol‟s call for the “next Methodism” caught some of those gathered, including myself, completely off guard.
However, for many, as it appeared, the bishop‟s response was an obvious one. For one laity representative that I had the chance to talk to, leaving the denomination that does not tolerate the rights of LGBTQ+ community was the most sensible thing to do. Why kick against the goads? The change is here.
This approach of agreeing to dis-agree by parting with those who we are in a disagreement might make sense for the people who have already thought deeply about the issue and have already made up their minds. However, for those of us who are still taken aback by what is happening in our Methodist church, we still have the opportunity to reflect and seek the Christ our Lord for what he is commanding us to do. As his followers, we are called to keep an open ear and an
open mind to where our Lord is di-recting us to go, no matter what the road ahead might look like. In the meantime, our GNJ Conference plans to convene laity and clergy listening sessions regarding this matter begin-ning in June through September.
Submitted by Charlie P.
Bishop John Schol addresses the United Methodists of GNJ