In a letter to GNJ lay and clergy members to annual conference in December, a team of GNJ leaders announced their work on a new Book of Discipline that they hope will be workshopped by GNJ and brought to General Conference in May.
The team, led by Dean of the Cabinet, Myrna Bethke, Connectional Table Chair, Kay Dubuisson and leaders of the General Conference Delegation, Bethany Amey Sutton and Drew Dyson explained the need for a new Discipline because United Methodists are “best served by empowering congregations to develop laity who are equipped to cultivate and lead leaders.” A new Discipline “will make it easier for congregations to make disciples … and to help all United Methodists stay on a Wesleyan Path. It will be simpler, clearer and better organized than our current Discipline.”
“I am hopeful for a brighter future for the Church, and we are grateful for the positive feedback we have received since sending the letter in December. Looking forward to getting additional feedback as we move into the new year,” said Gateway South District Superintendent Myrna Bethke.
The draft document is being called The Connection: The Life and Order of The United Methodist Church and has been released in sections starting on December 23. Throughout the month of January the team will welcome input from the people in GNJ through a series of workshops held on January 16, 17 and 25 with sessions in the morning, afternoon and evening.
The Connection refocuses on congregations as the primary unit for mission and is drafted to:
- Be simple and clear
- Celebrate our rich Wesleyan theology
- Eliminate and streamline procedure and process that get in the way of ministry
- Grant equal authority in decision making
- Make it easier to serve as a clergy by setting clear expectations and process for personal issues.
- Creates a sustainable apportionment system.
- Bases decision-making on our values, theology and mission
- Offers alternatives to conservative and progressive leaning people.
Judy Colorado, a GNJ lay delegate to General Conference, shared her thoughts, “As I continue to meditate and review The Connection, the more I am convinced that the UMC needs a full transformation on its governance, polity and the way we do our work to focus on our mission. I feel liberated to dream, and envision a new church, new wave of laity and clergy transformational leaders, that will lead and inspire congregations to vitality and health!” Find out more about the The New Discipline here.