Nancy and I returned late Saturday night following the conclusion of the Council of Bishops meeting in Chicago, IL. We enjoyed yesterday as a day of Sabbath and worship and needed that renewal time as many of you understand.
By now some of you have read the Council of Bishops’ press release and other commentary following the conclusion of our meeting. As I, too, read statements and interpretations I want to share with you how this annual conference will work going forward.
First, let me take a moment to give thanks for those of you who reached out offering prayer and support to the council. We certainly felt it in our discussions and time of worship.
To be clear, all three plans will be brought to General Conference 2019. The three plans are the One Church Plan; the Traditionalist Plan, and the Connectional-conference plan (formerly known as the Multi-branch model). The majority of the bishops supported the One Church plan but all plans have support.
It is clear reading social media that people want more information. It is also necessary that everyone receive the information at once. Here is a brief timeline of the events to come.
-The Judicial Council will rule around May 25th if other petitions can be submitted. We will know more about this process after the 25th.
-You will receive more information in my presentation on the three plans on Tuesday morning, June 4th at annual conference.
-On or before July 8th, all three plans in their entirety will be available for our global connection. This will allow time for editing and translation for the worldwide church.
-I am excited to be in each district for Town Hall meetings on Sunday afternoons starting August 5th. The Sunday afternoon session will be an open forum for all to ask questions and hear more details. The Monday after each town hall, I will meet with pastors in the district. A complete listing of dates can be found here.
I will be working with our conference delegation as early as tomorrow. The work is now in the hands of the 864 delegates, ten of whom represent the Alabama-West Florida Conference. This work will lead us to the called special 2019 General Conference session to be held February 23-26, 2019, in St Louis, MO. I encourage you to reach out to them with concern, support and with any questions. I would also ask that you be in prayer for them.
My role as the Bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference is to help you, and our delegation, have all the information possible and to be in prayer as we move forward. It is an honor to serve as your Bishop in the Alabama-West Florida Conference.
Join me in taking a deep breath knowing that Jesus is in control. We can’t change anything today or tomorrow about this legislation. But today and tomorrow is a great day to continuously be focused on our mission of making disciples and changing our corner of the world.
Bishop David Graves
Resident Bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Conference