On Feb. 18, the BWC's Discipleship Council voted to support the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation, coming to the General Conference May 5-15 in Minneapolis.
A Statement from the Discipleship Council of the Baltimore-Washington Conference on the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation
We, the members of the Discipleship Council of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, support the work and spirit of The Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation as a faithful step for the future of The United Methodist Church. We believe that this agreement provides a way forward for the church's mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, while also acknowledging the deep division, pain, and conflict within our church in recent decades.
While we lament a separation of any kind within the body of Christ, we believe that the Protocol represents a call to a renewed life for the church and its people. It is clear that this agreement has emerged from a deliberate and thoughtful process. While it may not be perfect, we believe that The Protocol embodies the Wesleyan spirit of grace and a way for United Methodists around the world to be faithful to their calling and identity.
In addition, we support the Protocol's call to hold in abeyance any charges related to LGBTQIA+ clergypersons or those performing same-sex weddings. We also fully support Bishop LaTrelle Easterling's statement that she will uphold this abeyance through the time of General Conference 2020. This abeyance recognizes the harm and fear experienced in the LGBTQIA+ community through charges, church trials, and exclusion, and creates a space for grace and healing to begin. It also allows us to focus on mission and ministry with the poor and the deep work of addressing systemic racism and other social ills without our resources being diverted toward legal fees.
We join Bishop Easterling in calling upon United Methodists of the Baltimore-Washington Conference to enter into a time of study, prayer, and fasting in this season, and to maintain open minds and hearts as we discern a faithful way forward for the future of our church. Those of us who have engaged with the Who Are We? study have found it to be very helpful in rooting us in our core identity as children of God shaped in the Wesleyan spirit. We encourage all members of the Baltimore-Washington Conference to re-discover the blessings of our connection through this study.
To support the understanding, the Discipleship Council has created a summary of the protocol with links to further resources.