Synopsis of the three plans

The Commission on the Way Forward submitted three proposed plans to the Council of Bishops. The One Church Plan that the Bishops supported and two others:

The One Church Plan
The Council of Bishops is recommending the One Church Plan that allows congregations to decide their marriage policies, pastors to determine who they will marry and Boards of Ordained Ministry and clergy executive sessions to determine fit and readiness for ministry.

The Council of Bishops is recommending this model to the General Conference because it preserves appropriate local decision-making and does not require congregations to think and act alike. It preserves our unity in the midst of differences, allows for contextualization and provides the least disruption to the mission of Jesus Christ.

The bishops supporting the One Church Plan have created a website with more information and resources.  Click here.

The Connectional Conference Plan
Create a Connectional Conference Model for the church which allows congregations to decide to be a part of one of three “branches”/conferences in the United States – progressive, centrist or conservative. These conferences could modify the Book of Discipline and align church practices to their theology and understanding. Present annual conferences and even congregations could choose different “branches”/conferences. The Council of Bishops is not recommending this model to the General Conference. A similar model was created in 1939 which separated a majority of African Americans and the rest of the church into distinct conferences. It was finally disbanded in 1968 and caused lasting pain to many in our denomination. It would not be helpful for us to be separate but equal, separating us by theology and segregating gays and lesbians. It would also require years to implement, maybe as many as 10 years and that would detract us from the mission of Jesus Christ and focus us on institutional matters.

The Traditionalist Plan
Strengthen the existing language about homosexuality in the Book of Discipline and create swift and strong punishment of anyone that does not follow the Book of Discipline. The Council of Bishops is not recommending this model to the General Conference because it will create disruption, church trials and pain for individuals and congregations that would distract us from our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Copies of each plan - English

  • The One Church Plan

    The One Church Plan

    This plan was pulled from the Way Forward Report. The One Church Plan gives churches the room they need to maximize the presence of a United Methodist witness in as many places in the world as possible.

  • The Connectional Conference Plan

    The Connectional Conference Plan

    This plan was pulled from the Way Forward Report. The Connectional Conference Plan reflects a unified core that includes shared doctrine and services. This plan creates three values-based connectional conferences that have distinctive definitions of accountability, contextualization and justice. Current central conferences have the choice of becoming their own connectional conference (up to five additional connectional conferences) or joining one of the three values-based connectional conferences. A redefined Council of Bishops focuses on ecumenical relationships and shared learning. Episcopal oversight, accountability, elections, assignments and funding occur within the College of Bishops of each connectional conference.

  • The Traditionalist Plan

    The Traditionalist Plan

    The Traditionalist Plan was pulled from the Way Forward Report.

    Strengthen the existing language about homosexuality in the Book of Discipline and create swift and strong punishment of anyone that does not follow the Book of Discipline. The Council of Bishops is not recommending this model to the General Conference because it will create disruption, church trials and pain for individuals and congregations that would distract us from our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Spanish Translation of the Commission on the Way Forward's Recommendation

Other translations