Commission on the Way Forward

The Commission on a Way Forward (COWF) was proposed by the Council of Bishops to do a complete examination concerning human sexuality and explore options to maintain and strengthen the unity of the church. 

2-16 Update

With the special called General Conference of the United Methodist Church a week away, I wanted to give you just a few updates. 

  • Please keep the delegates and Bishops in your prayers during the next few weeks. I am attaching a prayer guide with suggestions on prayers beginning tomorrow, February 17th through March 3rd. The file is formatted for a booklet, which is wonderful if you know how to print it and a bit frustrating also. Hardcopies will also be available on the Welcome Tables in the Narthex and the Gateway Hospitality Center.
  • I’ve also attached a spreadsheet that summarizes the impact of the 4 major plans. The Commission on the Way Forward put forth three plans: One Church Plan, Traditional Plan and Connectional Conference Plan. The majority of Bishops recommended the One Church Plan and the Judicial Council found that it was in accordance with the United Methodist Church’s constitution with a few minor changes. The Judicial Council found major problems in the Traditional Plan so a modified Traditional Plan will be presented to the General Conference (however, the Judicial Council has not ruled on the modified plan). The Judicial Council did not rule on the Connectional Plan because, if approved, it requires constitutional amendments.  The spreadsheet also summarizes a fourth plan that has been submitted by progressives called the Simple Plan. Please note: more than likely which ever plan is approved will be approved with modifications. As I understand it, all the plans will be discussed and adjusted as a result of the work of the General Conference.  And regardless of which plan is adopted, no changes will occur for some time.
  • General Conference will begin on Saturday, February 23rd and end on Tuesday, February 26th.   
  • If you are interested in watching or keeping up with the proceedings:
  • You can watch the live stream here.
  • I’m sure the mainstream media will be watching and reporting on the Conference. Please keep in mind that they generally have no idea how the UMC functions and as a result misrepresent the actions of General Conference. I don’t recommend putting too much stock in what they report and the opinions that they share. The United Methodist News Agency is a better source for information. You can find links to more information on theUMC website.
  • You can also sign up at our conference website to receive updates.
  • On Sunday, March 3rd, we will have a special message from our Bishop to share with you during worship about the results of the General Conference. 

In the meantime and no matter which plan passes, we will continue to move forward with our work to be and make passionately devoted followers of Jesus Christ loving God and others and serving and sharing Jesus as the church with the warm heart. 

January 14 Message

Dear Aldersgate Family and Friends,

As some of you may know, the United Methodist Church is in the midst of a difficult time of discernment about the future of our denomination. Disagreement and tension about our theological convictions regarding human sexuality and the inclusion of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning) persons has been building over many years.

The Commission on a Way Forward (COWF) was proposed by the Council of Bishops to do a complete examination concerning human sexuality and explore options to maintain and strengthen the unity of the church.  There will be a special called General Conference held in St. Louis, February 23-26, 2019 to consider the three options put forward by the COWF.

This page contains an audio recording of the information session that Matt McCollum, chair of our Staff/Parish Relations Committee and I held last night as well as some other resources that you might find helpful.


January 13, 2019 Information Session.

Rev. Tom Berlin’s video presentation

Handouts from the session will be available later this week.

If you wish to join in a longer conversation on this issue, you are invited to join Sherill and Matt on Sunday nights from 5-6:30 pm beginning January 20th for a book discussion “Unafraid and Unashamed: Facing the Future of United Methodism” by Wil Cantrell. You can order the book from both in paperback or Kindle on Amazon or order the paperback from Cokesbury. (Classroom to be announced later this week.) Please help us prepare by emailing Sherill to let her know you plan to attend.