My last couple of articles centered on the outcome of February’s Special General Conference (GC2019) and developing a way forward, when not all of the pieces and parts were fully known.  We’re still trying to figure out the exact language … what’s constitutional … what’s not constitutional … various interpretations … pop-up meetings, some by invitation and some open – are you as confused as I am?  So, in this setting, how do we, as a local church, the district, and the conference prepare for our upcoming Virginia Annual Conference next month?  I believe we recently received some wonderful guidance from our interim episcopal leader, Bishop Pete Weaver, as he referred to this as “Walking the Journey Together.”   

Bishop Weaver is meeting with districts across the conference prior to the start of Annual Conference in an effort to guide and minister to our diverse and fruitful congregations.  His message is clear – we need to listen and learn as we walk the journey together.  After music, intercessory prayer, scripture, a short homily, and communion (One Bread, One Body); Bishop Weaver openly shared responses to questions posed online and from the attendees.  As you can imagine, the questions ranged from “Can we keep our pastor if we leave the denomination?” to “How do we minister to all during this time of tension?”  Numerous answers are not yet available as the bishop reminded us of the various dates associated with the results of GC2019.  Bishop Weaver stressed the following points: (1) Jesus was a listener and had convicted humility; (2) out of chaos and tension, the journey can be fruitful; and (3) remember that the Discipline is merely a compilation of processes.

As I prepare to represent you, the Alexandria District, at our upcoming Annual Conference; I want to assure everyone that I’m listening and learning from each of you in the district.  As Bishop Weaver suggested, I’m looking at the entirety of paragraph 161.g. of the Discipline (all 16 sentences, where 12 are acceptable to all).  I’m also impressed that the bishop is willing (and time is scheduled) to address resolutions, motions and petitions to allow everyone to be heard during this trying time.  Also, your Board of Laity is devoting half of the Laity Session as a time of ‘meet and greet’ for those individuals vying for nomination as laity delegates to the next General Conference in 2020.  Please join me in listening and learning as we walk the journey together!!       


John Meeuwissen, Lay Leader