As of September 19, 2019, our sub-committee has focused our conversations on re-informing ourselves on the history and heritage of the people called Methodists generally and in New England specifically. To do the former, we’ve dived into reading, including on queer theology and the history of Methodist splits; to do the latter, we’ve invited some experts, particularly home-grown experts in our own conference. What are the theological and spiritual hallmarks of the Methodist movement? And what is the distinctive identity of Methodism in New England that can inform our work?
We have also asked the questions:
- What are the basic theological questions and spiritual issues at stake in the conflict that has led the UMC to this place?
- What are the basic theological questions and spiritual issues to take into account for the vision of the future we are imagining?
- How might an understanding of our Wesleyan heritage and teachings inform our responses to these theological questions and spiritual issues?
- How does the unique historical experience and witness of Methodists in New England inform our responses and vision of the future we imagine?
Clearly, to date we have spent a lot of time trying to ask the right questions, invite the right partners, and solidify our foundation for the work ahead. We will soon begin piecing together our understanding and vision for Methodism in New England that will then, hopefully, recommend one or more of the options before us.