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I am going to do my best to be fair and to give credit where it is due. Bishop Jones and Bishop Bard have done a good job of thinking out of the box that the rest of the UMC has been thinking in. They are to be commended for that. With that said, I am fully cognizant that I am distrustful of the Council of Bishops as a whole, and by extension skeptical of any plan that originates with the Bishops. The problem that I see begins in the very title of their proposal, “A New Form of Unity”. Before we continue on, we should be using shared definitions of words, so allow me to quote the Oxford English Dictionary definition of ‘unity’. “The state of being united or joined as a whole.” If we are being honest, this plan’s claim of a new form of unity, misses the mark and, if anything, shows the type of unity at all costs idolatry that is very much a problem. As the purpose of the plan was to stimulate some form of conversation and a starting point for it, I guess this is my contribution to said conversation.
In the creation of two, three, or more denominations out of the current UMC, the plan envisions full communion between said branches. Assuming that the definition of full communion will remain the same, this presents a problem. In the United Methodist church, full communion means the following: “Full communion agreements mean we recognize in each other’s churches that the gospel is rightly preached, the sacraments are duly administered, and the ministry of the clergy is ordered in such a way as to allow for the orderly exchange of some ordained clergy among us, as defined by the agreement reached between The United Methodist Church...
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