AUGUST 3, 2015…On behalf of Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey, the Episcopal Office of the Michigan Area hosted members of the West Michigan Annual Conference (WMC) to hear their concerns about the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer (LGBTQ) persons by The United Methodist Church.
The 15 clergy and lay members of the WMC met with Clergy Assistant to the Bishop, the Rev. Melanie Carey for about two hours. During that time, Rev. Carey and the group engaged in constructive conversation, prayer and shared Holy Communion together.
“These are difficult days for The United Methodist Church.” Rev. Carey said, “Faithful United Methodists disagree on these issues. The challenge is, how to live together even when we don’t agree.” She added, “I am hopeful that by engaging in respectful dialog and debate with each other, we can find a resolution within The United Methodist Church that allows us to move forward.”
“The challenge is, how to live together even when we don’t agree.”
In May 2016, elected clergy and laity delegates from around the world will gather in Portland, Oregon for The United Methodist Church General Conference. The group will meet in part to debate revisions to The Book of Discipline. The Book of Discipline is the instrument for setting forth the laws, plan, polity, and process by which United Methodists govern themselves. The Book of Discipline is reviewed and can be revised every four years only at General Conference. Bishops by definition, are required to uphold The Book of Discipline and are unable to change or vote on changes to church polity.
The West Michigan Conference and the Detroit Annual Conference comprise the Michigan Area of The United Methodist Church. Together, these annual conferences represent nearly 900 United Methodist churches and over 150,000 members in Michigan. The Michigan Area Office is located in Lansing, Michigan and is led by Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey. Bishop Kiesey has led the Michigan Area since September 2012.