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Statement from Bishop LaTrelle Easterling: April 19, 2017

April 19, 2017

Beloved,
 
Grace and peace to you in Jesus Christ, our Risen Savior! As we enter this season of Eastertide, we are more aware than ever of the powerful work of God, through the Holy Spirit, to overcome death in all its forms. Where the limitations of humanity see only the impossible, God breaks through and offers triumphant new life. This knowledge strengthens us to meet any and all challenges with confident hope.
 
I ask you to call upon this strength as we await the decision of the Judicial Council next week in responding to a petition requesting a declaratory decision on the election, consecration, and assignment of Bishop Karen Oliveto in the Western Jurisdiction. Often, when the church we love so dearly confronts questions of scriptural understandings, our faith is shaken, and our positions sometimes become hardened. As the people of God, our faith calls us to embrace the promises of Easter, and be open to how the Holy Spirit may shape us anew. As people of grace, we are invited to listen to one another, be a healing presence in each other's lives, and live as a people redeemed by Christ's sacrificial love. In so doing, we have the opportunity to see one another through the eyes of faith as children of God; and, if children, then heirs to a God of mercy, kindness and justice.
 
I invite you to read the letter from Bishop Bruce Ough, the President of the Council of Bishops, calling all United Methodists into deep and intentional prayer, and reminding us of the structural nature of our denomination. I join Bishop Ough in calling for fervent prayer. I know that we as the Baltimore-Washington Conference are not of one heart, mind, or understanding on this matter. And yet, as United Methodists, our strength lies in our diversity. Even when we're anxious, our hearts are united by the hope of a risen Savior. Let us embrace that hope, and pray for wisdom as we humbly seek God's will. Let us move forward as one, connected in Christ.
 
Blessings and peace,
 
Bishop LaTrelle Easterling
Resident Bishop - Washington Area
Baltimore-Washington Conference
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