View a video of Bishop Lewis’ Six Guiding Principles related to GC 2019:
You can view Bishop Lewis’ letter to the laity:  

Work group formed by Bishop Lewis focuses on ‘way forward’

By Madeline Pillow

A work group formed by Bishop Sharma D. Lewis has been meeting since July 2, 2018 to discuss the work of the Commission on a Way Forward and in anticipation of the results from the Special Session of General Conference (GC) in 2019.

Known as the Bishop’s Way Forward Work Group, its members represent individuals involved with clergy and laity of the conference as well as those related to the financial considerations of the Virginia Conference.  

Meeting once a month, the group has met to interpret the work of the commission and the possibilities of GC 2019 to seek clarity for clergy and laity and to provide answers to their questions. 

Their meetings have led to several actions including:
• The live Sept. 26 Q&A event that featured Martha Stokes, the Rev. Tom Berlin and Bishop Lewis answering questions about the work of the Commission and GC 2019. 
• The Six Guiding Principles shared by Bishop Lewis (video). 
• A letter in December (pdf) to both clergy and laity concerning Bishop Lewis’ outlook on GC 2019 and resources for local churches.

In her December letter to clergy and laity, Bishop Lewis said she hoped that all could be a non-anxious presence in spite of disagreement, anger or fear. 

“As we prepare for this Special Session of General Conference, I call upon you, members of the Virginia Conference, to be a non-anxious presence. Lean away from fear and lean on God. Lean away from uncertainty and lean into the mission of your local churches. God is here and God is doing something immeasurably more than we know how to ask to imagine.” 

To find all the news and updates concerning the work of the Commission on a Way Forward and GC 2019, visit

-Madeline Pillow is the editor of the Advocate magazine. 



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
(804) 521-1100
Click here for directions to the Center