Letter From Annual Conference 05-30-2019

To Our Arkansas Methodist Family:

Grace and peace in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As we gather as an Annual Conference, we acknowledge that there is deep division in our denomination and that our disagreements have caused pain among us. We call first for repentance, and secondly to find ways to affirm one another as a big family in Arkansas Methodism. To this end, we want to lift up a few statements that bind us together as Methodist sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ. No matter what happens, we share more in common as Methodist brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ than what divides us.

  1. We believe in the Triune God, salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, in the unconditional love of God, and in God’s grace sufficient for every need. We believe in the faith delivered to the church in the historic creeds.
  2. We cling to our Wesleyan heritage as Christians of a Methodist tribe. This includes:
    1. A Wesleyan understanding of grace—prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying.
    2. Theological and social discourse grounded first in Scripture, informed by tradition, experienced in personal and corporate dimensions, and articulated with the best of human reason.
    3. Christian discipleship consisting of both vital piety and social action.
    4. Adherence to the General Rules given by John Wesley:
      1. Do no harm.
      2. Do good.
      3. Attend upon the ordinances of God.
  3. We believe the mission of the church is making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We affirm the trajectory of the Arkansas Annual Conference “to make disciples who make disciples equipped to transform lives, communities, and the world.”
  4. We believe that whatever happens to the structure of the United Methodist Church, we will respect our fellow
    Methodists, and our interactions will be characterized by:

    1. Listening well. We invite the members of Annual Conference to truly listen to one another as we share in conversation.
    2. Loving well. As disciples of Jesus Christ, love is at the center of who we are and what we are about. Jesus tells us, “Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.” (John 13:34-35)
  5. We believe we are stronger and will accomplish more working together in our social witness. We commit to support
    our Annual Conference initiatives: 200,000 Reasons to stop childhood hunger in Arkansas, UMCOR, Volunteers in
    Mission, and disaster response initiatives.

We commit with you, our brothers and sisters in the Arkansas Annual Conference, to continue to pray for wisdom, guidance, and grace as we move forward. And in our Arkansas Methodist family, whatever structures may emerge, we will strive to “maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3)

Respectfully Yours,
Mary Jan Davis
Karon Mann
John Mark Mathis
John Miles
Mark Norman
Katie Pearce
Bud Reeves
Michael Roberts
LaToya Shepherd
Britt Skarda
Carness Vaughn
Jeff Warrick

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