Way Forward Discernment
The global United Methodist Church has been debating questions about our views of homosexuality since the late 1960s. Recently, this conversation led to a commission being appointed to determine how we might move beyond this theological impasse. In February 2019, a special called General Conference (the only legislative body permitted to make decisions for the global Church) was held to review the proposals put forth. The decision, by a 53% to 47% vote, was to maintain the restrictive language in our Book of Discipline that prohibits homosexual marriage and ordination and to add stricter accountability for violating these policies. People in the United Methodist Church are divided over this decision, especially in the U.S. It is important that we, Brentwood United Methodist Church, continue to engage in conversation as we anticipate new proposals will be presented at the May 2020 General Conference. Please be in prayer with and for our church as we discern our way forward.
About the BUMC Discernment Team
The BUMC Discernment Team has been formed to prayerfully process the future of Brentwood United Methodist Church in the framework of this current context for our denomination. In November 2019, Davis Chappell and Laura Brantley gave an explanation on the work of the Discernment Team and what is currently being done within our church.
Meet the Discernment Team
Dr. Davis Chappell
Dr. Laura Brantley
January 3, 2020 letter from Dr. Davis Chappell
Happy New Year! I hope that you had a meaningful Advent and Christmas season, and are ready to begin 2020! As you enter into worship this weekend you will notice that the Christmas decorations are still up. In our tradition, we keep them up until Epiphany (the 12th day of Christmas) which is Monday, January 6. We will be celebrating Epiphany this weekend, with a reading from Matthew 2, which contains the visit of the magi. We look forward to worshiping together on this the first weekend of the new year, and new decade!
I am also writing this evening to share with you some clarification from our bishop concerning news that you no doubt have received from several media sources earlier today. In Bishop McAlilly’s commentary, he provides more detailed information about a mediated agreement called “Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation.” At this point, it is a proposal that will come before the General Conference in May.
As you may know, there are a number of proposals that are being discussed across the denomination concerning our future. This ongoing discussion and discourse make me thankful for the work of our discernment team, which was appointed last year by our Church Council. As we continue to meet, pray, study, listen to our people and the Holy Spirit, we ask for your continued prayers and patience. I am constantly reminded of the necessity of prayerful dialogue and respectful relationships which actually serve to deepen our love for Christ and one another, and also strengthen our mission of making disciples.
Grace & Peace,
January 3, 2020 letter from Bishop Bill McAlilly
In this New Year I invite you to join me in praying for the United Methodist Church and her people in all places across the world. I invite you to pray that we expand our mission in every place so that those for whom Christ is a stranger will find in Him a gracious and generous friend.
It is no secret that the United Methodist Church has continued to struggle with conflicting views regarding human sexuality, and today I write to you with news that emerged this morning about a mediated agreement called “Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation.” This Protocol is a response by a number of constituencies within our Church to propose to the General Conference a plan that would allow a gracious separation among faithful Christians so that we may avoid continued distraction from the work of the Kingdom of God.
The individuals adopting this proposal have affirmed their recognition that they do not, and cannot, speak for every constituency in the United Methodist Church, but have made this proposal after prayerful consideration about how best to go forward in doing our most important work—making disciples of Christ.
This news comes to us from our own United Methodist News Service. Many of you have no doubt read reports coming from other media outlets. In light of some of the confusing messages contained in those reports, I would offer the following.
Some have interpreted the proposal as a decision that has already been made, or as a call by the Council of Bishops for a Church divide, or both. In fact... (continue reading)
In 2019, the BUMC Lead Team distributed a survey that was available to the congregation to share their views regarding the debate over human sexuality in the United Methodist Church. No final conclusions can or should be made regarding the survey results in terms of representing the sentiments of all BUMC. This survey acted primarily as a listening, communication tool. A summary of the survey responses was compiled by a team tasked with coding the qualitative responses into a format that could be summarized.
The Discernment Team is conducting Listening Sessions with various groups in our church to hear your thoughts and concerns as well as answer questions.
Listening Sessions Through March 8
- Wesley Fellowship Group
- BUMC Clergy
- Bishop Spain and Bishop Pennel
- Church Council Executive Team
- Good Path Sunday School Class
- Robert I. Moore Sunday School Class
- Wesley Forum Sunday School Class
- Crossroads Sunday School Class
- Draw the Circle Wide Group
- Seekers Sunday School Class
- Staff listening sessions
- Student Ministry
- Open Listening Session
Upcoming Listening Sessions
Other sessions pending
- Program staff and leaders
- Ministry lay leaders
Quietly Courageous by Gil Rendle
Discernment by Henri Nouwen
Discerning God's Will Together by Danny Morris and Charles M. Olsen