The panel interview, conducted by UM News, will be streamed on UMNews.org beginning at 9:30 a.m. Eastern U.S. Time. It can be viewed at https://youtu.be/q2wZQyAjU6M. The panel discussion will last approximately one hour and will be recorded and archived on the site.
The panelists will describe how they developed the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation, a proposal that they are working to have drafted as legislation and sent to General Conference. The proposal, announced Jan. 3, would provide a means for traditionalists to leave The United Methodist Church and form their own denomination, as well as a way for others to leave the denomination within a specified time. Proponents emphasize that no one is being asked to leave the church.
The proposal is the latest effort to move the church past a decades-long debate over inclusiveness and interpretation of Scripture with regard to same-gender weddings and the ordination of LGBTQ clergy. The United Methodist Church’s official positions are that all people are of sacred worth; the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching; “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” shall not be ordained as clergy; and same-sex weddings shall not be performed in the denomination’s churches nor by its clergy.
When The United Methodist Church’s General Conference meets May 5-15 in Minneapolis, delegates from around the world will consider a number of proposals for splitting or restructuring the church.
The protocol document was developed by people from centrist, progressive and traditionalist perspectives, as well as bishops from the United States, Africa, Europe and the Philippines. The group was led by mediator Kenneth Feinberg, who worked on the federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, the Agent Orange Victim Compensation Fund, and programs to compensate victims of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the Boston Marathon bombing.
Panelists will include:
- Bishop John Yambasu, Co-Convener, Mediation Team
- Janet Lawrence, Executive Director, Reconciling Ministries Network
- Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, President-Elect, Council of Bishops
- Kenneth Feinberg, Mediator
- Rev. Junius Dotson, Co-Convener, UMC Next
- Rev. Keith Boyette, President, Wesleyan Covenant Association
- Bishop Thomas Bickerton, Co-Convener, Mediation Team
The moderator will be Tim Tanton with UM News.
The livestream will originate from Tampa, Florida, where the mediation team will be meeting that day.
People interested in suggesting questions for the interview may send an email to Newsdesk [at] umnews.org by Friday, Jan. 10. The panel discussion will not include live audience interaction. Time constraints will limit the number of questions used, but UM News and Ask The UMC will refer to the remaining submitted questions in planning future stories and resources.