Bishop Alsted's Opening of GC
Read the opening statement of Bishop Alsted at the called session of the General Conference 2019:
The Council of Bishop's gave me the responsibility to preside at the opening session of the called session of the General Conference. This was my opening statement
The 2019 special session of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church is now in session.
Good morning, my name is Christian Alsted, and I am the bishop of the Nordic and Baltic area. I am working with bishop Hope Morgen Ward and bishop Gregory Palmér, and we are assisted by secretary of GC Gary Graves and our parliamentarian Len Young.
Dear United Methodists this special session of the General Conference is called by the Council of Bishops with the purpose limited to receiving and acting upon a report from the Commission on a Way Forward upon recommendations of the Council of Bishops.
We are not gathered here in St. Louis to discuss and to decide on an issue or a question, we are speaking about people and the church. Our conversations will be about sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, grand children, friends and members of our churches who identify themselves as homosexual. We are here to seek God’s way forward to discover how we as the body of Christ can follow and serve Christ with all people including LGBTQI persons as we engage in God’s mission.
We gather in a professional football arena, where football teams have played against each other to win the game. However yesterday, today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow this is not a sports arena - it is church. For these days a different set of rules apply in this place -and I am not speaking of Roberts Rules of order. I am speaking of the General Rules crafted by the founder of Methodism John Wesley - DO NO HARM - DO GOOD - AND STAY IN LOVE WITH GOD BY USING THE MEANS OF GRACE, and in his message this morning based on scripture from Ephesians Bishop Carter preached what this implies
I invite us to let the General Rules shape our conferencing, I believe this is what our fellow UM people expect of us, I believe this is what Jesus Christ expects of us -and I invite us to continue to pray and expect that the Holy Spirit will speak and guide us as we do our work.
Please pray with me, with the words of bishop Reuben Job
Loving God, we offer open hands, open minds, open hearts, and a willing spirit to hear continually your calling and sending voice. We abandon life and ministry into your care with the assurance that you will lead us in paths of righteousness and goodness. Amen