Reconciling Ministries Network - One Church Plan

February 20, 2019

January 17, 2019

Dear General Conference Delegate, 
Thank you very much for the prayerful time and thought that you are devoting to your preparation for the special general conference. It is a critical responsibility you hold for the future of the United Methodist Church. 

We of the Central Ohio Conference Reconciling Ministries Network urge you to support the One Church Plan. 

There are numerous ways to frame the work before you. We encourage you to be guided by the time-tested approach followed by John Wesley, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity.” Frequently the discussion concerning General Conference revolves around unity and liberty. In light of that it is crucial to determine what is essen al and what is non-essential.
Obviously much scripture can be and is referenced for guidance. We lift up Galatians 3:27-29. 

As many of you as were batized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s o spring, heirs according
to the promise. 

What is essential is baptism into Christ, belonging to Christ, and being clothed with Christ. The mark of baptism is essen al. What is non-essential are the important marks which distinguish us, yet separate us. It is non-essential whether one is Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female. That Paul frames them in the negative stresses their non-essential nature. 

Clarity on non-essentials emphasizes grace and brings unity to the mission of our Church. We are called, gifted, and saved by God’s grace and Christ’s redeeming work. This is our unity. Our non-essentials of gender, status, economic condition, orientation, nationality, and race can divide the body of Christ. To emphasize them over our baptism would only serve to separate the body. We are members of the body neither because of nor in spite of our non-essentials. We are members of the body by God’s grace. 

For this reason we ask you to support the One Church Plan. In the Wesleyan spirit it others both the unity of witness and mission for which we yearn. It provides for the liberty which context desires so that conferences may choose to ordain LGBTQ persons and churches may choose to celebrate same gender marriages. AND perhaps most important, by eliminating the restrictive language of the Social Principles, it creates the charity which allows us to move forward together as disciples of Christ. 

You have important work ahead of you. May God bless you in your Spirit-led discernment for Christ’s kingdom. 

In Christ,
Central Ohio Reconciling Ministries Network