From the Bishop


June 23, 2015


To the people of the Virginia Annual Conference:

May the grace and peace from our risen Lord be with you.

Many of you have heard that by a 989-868 vote, the Virginia Annual Conference session approved a petition to General Conference to remove the following language from the Book of Discipline: “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.”

I want you to know that this vote took place in the midst of honest debate and prayerful discernment. Throughout it all, the expressed will of all participants was that we might know God’s will for our church at this time.

Please note the following:

1) The current language in the Book of Discipline can only be changed by the General Conference which will meet next in May of 2016.  This action is a petition of the Virginia Conference for the General Conference to take the action noted above.  Nothing has changed.

2) Other language in the Book of Discipline related to human sexuality, including the ordination of homosexual persons and same sex unions, is not addressed by this petition.

I know the results of this action will be received with widely varied responses. But whatever those responses, what has not changed is that we are a people who share a common heritage and a common ministry in Christ Jesus.  We are called to live and work together as a family of faith.

Within this family we can celebrate many powerful things God has done through us, such as the Imagine No Malaria Initiative, which is nearing 100 percent of its goal, and the many other ministries we lifted up at Annual Conference.  Just as every family has differences and disagreements, yet remains united in care and love; so within our family of faith we should remain committed to one another. This day, as yesterday, we are called to be in ministry together with all people and we are called to be disciples together of the God we meet in the Scriptures.

I encourage you to join me in praying for our mission and for the future of our church looking for the guidance of our Good Shepherd on this issue.  I am grateful for each one of you.

In Christ,


Young Jin Cho

(Click here to download a pdf copy of this letter)



The Cross and Flame is a registered trademark, and the use is supervised by the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) of The United Methodist Church. Permission to use the Cross and Flame must be obtained from the GCFA, Attn: Legal Department, PO Box 340029, Nashville, TN 37203-0029; phone 615-369-2334; fax 615-369-2330

Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
1-800-768-6040 or (804) 521-1100
Click here for directions to the Center