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May 5, 2022

In this episode of the Louisiana NOW podcast, we feature speeches from Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey and Bishop Thomas Bickerton. Both bishops recently addressed the Council of Bishops and the church during the most recent Council of Bishops meeting. The bishops of The United Methodist Church completed their Spring meeting in a spirit of collegiality and love for one another and the worldwide denomination.
  In a moving time of worship, the bishops celebrated the leadership of the Council with the passing of the gavel as New York Area Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton assumed the mantle as the new president of the Council of Bishops (COB) of the UMC.   In his address, Bishop Bickerton called on the United Methodists to commit to “spending most of our time positioning our church for the next chapter of our life together: talking about the movement of the spirit in our midst, the exciting days that lie ahead, and the joy we will have being able to live out our calling to preach the Good News of God’s love rather than the bad news of what’s happening to us in the current moment.” “This is our church – let us claim it, guard it, preserve it, and use it to bless generations for years to come just as we were blessed by those who came before us.”
Using Romans 12, Bishop Harvey called on her colleagues and fellow United Methodists to remember that together, “we are the body of Christ, and when we actively start lopping off parts of the body, we cease to be who God has called us to be.” Noting that trying to “figure out how to make sense” of separation and the time spent has been “egregious.” Bishop Harvey said that the Book of Discipline is often silent or vague when it comes to addressing separation.  That’s because, she said, “the Book of Discipline is designed to give us direction for how to be United Methodist, not how NOT to be United Methodist.” Watching online videos from church leaders that start with the premise of understanding the process of disaffiliation saddens her, she said, “in the very pit of my stomach.” “We ought never pander nor foster division,” she said. “We do not need an enemy to lead! We lead out of and because of the love and grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!” Bishop Harvey said that she is a “big tent church person” who believes every voice is important to the whole. But, she added, the church needs to be very clear about who it is and who it is called to be.
For more on these meetings, please head to the Council of Bishops web site: