PReparing for a 'Way Forward'

We offer this page as a resource to learn more about the background and proposals coming before the leaders of the UMC around the apparent impasse regarding human sexuality, and the choice by some in the denomination to not comply with our established beliefs, which is the purpose of the special General Conference in February 2019. 


First, begin with the overview letter at the top of the list. It seeks to explain some of how we got here. The UMC has consistently held a traditional belief in marriage while welcoming every person to be members and participants in worship and service. 


Second, the video is a helpful way of understanding the three plans that will serve as the starting place for deliberations in February around a way forward. You can read the details in the third item of the list, the full Commission Report itself.


We want your feedback. We will be establishing methods and events to hear from you, starting in November. Based on how votes have been cast from 1972 through 2016, a large the majority in South Georgia and across the entire UMC agree with the traditional stance of our current Book of Discipline. Nevertheless, our church's Learning Team has already begun considering all possible outcomes in order to best guide our leadership for the unknown ahead. We ask that you join us in praying for God's leading. We are preparing our hearts for the great plans God has ahead for us (Jeremiah 29:11).


Our timeline is: 

  • Learning Phase - September and October 2018
  • Feedback Phase - November and December 2018
  • Prayer and Fasting - January and February 2019
  • Consider starting here. This letter, written by Tammi Wildes, our Administrative Council Chair, and the Rev. Dr. Scott Hagan, our Pastor, offers background to help understand the current situation.

  • video overview of the three plans being considered - used by bishop bryan in Aug/Sept 2018

    Bishop Lawson Bryan spent time in each of the Conference’s six districts to discuss the Way Forward report with clergy and laity. During the meetings, the Bishop shared a video that highlights the specifics of each of the three proposed plans, taking them in the order listed in the report of the

    Commission on a Way Forward.

  • The 32-member Commission was authorized by General Conference 2016 and appointed by the Council of Bishops to examine paragraphs in The Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and exploring options to strengthen the unity of the church.

    The 860 delegates are not limited to the plans found in this report.


    The Advance Edition of the Daily Christian Advocate (ADCA), the official journal of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church is accessible online now in PDF format. The Book of Discipline requires that the ADCA be available to delegates at least 90 days before the opening day of General Conference, so the printed and bound format will be mailed to delegates by at least November 26.

  • We want to hear from you. Our Learning Team is seeking feedback from our church family. You can email us (at wayforward@bonairechurch.com) or submit written notes in the special box in our Main Building. Both are secure and will be passed on to our church's Administrative Council.

  • Adapted from other sources, this includes dates from the denomination, from South Georgia, and uniquely from the life of Bonaire. 

  • The 864 delegates to next year’s special General Conference face a large task and only a short time to do it.The decisions the delegates make will be made together — without the usual prologue of meeting in multiple legislative committees. Read more about the plans for the 4 day conference coming up in February 2019.

  • The trust clause is actually a 'conservative' item within our denomination and a few others, namely the Episcopal Church. It has been upheld in every state and at the US Supreme Court. It protects the local congregation and larger denomination from 'hostile takeovers' that would see church property used outside of the historical designation as a Methodist place of worship of God. Currently, if the Bonaire church ceases to operate

    as a UMC, the deed of the real property reverts to the South Georgia Annual Conference.