In a few weeks, the GNJ annual conference will gather to receive a report from our GNJ Way Forward Team. The team was empowered by a March annual conference to find a way for GNJ to move forward in ministry with the LGBTQ+ community.
This has been a profound experience for me. I watched GNJ leaders who have diverse ethnicities, theologies and experiences work together on a matter that divides many people. They respected and honored one another. They worked hard and deep. They remained spiritually-centered and Jesus-committed. The team also understood that they would not all agree but recognized that they would agree to actions because at this time and moment it was the best to help GNJ congregations thrive to make disciples of Jesus Christ and grow vital congregations to transform the world.
I invite you to prepare for the special session of annual conference by doing the following:
1. Pray for our pastors who are leading during challenging times. I am grateful for their leadership and commitment to serve during this time.
2. Pray for one another. We are one in Christ.
3. Embrace those you love and those you are called to love. Jesus said the most important thing you can do is to love God and to love your neighbor.
4. Recommit your life to Christ and your baptismal vows.
5. Accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves
6. Confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace and promise to serve him as your Lord, in union with the Church, which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations and races.God will; God is seeing us through.
I have witnessed GNJ come together to help thousands to recover from Superstorm Sandy. I have seen you join to desegregate NJ schools and packed hundreds of thousands of meals to feed people around the world. You are one of the most diverse conferences in all of Methodism. You are called for this time to lead a way forward. In the midst of the storm, with God’s help you stepped into the storm bringing hope and relief. You are the church in all that is best for the world. Thank you. I look forward to seeing you on October 26.
Keep the faith!
Bishop John Schol