Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Together in Love and Faith

Bishop Trimble Message



Two Meetings, Two Reports!

Africa University – October 13-22

In October, I had the opportunity to travel to Zimbabwe for my second time. I first traveled to Zimbabwe and South Africa in 1991. I have a picture of myself from that trip where I am standing in front of a sign located in Old Mutare saying, “The future site of Africa University.”
Dear Indiana friends,
2017 marks 25 years of growth for this world-class United Methodist-established University that is serving and educating students on the continent of Africa. To date, 8,000 students have graduated and nearly 92 percent of graduates are working in 32 African countries. Twenty-nine of Africa’s 55 nations are represented at Africa University. Africa University is the only university I have visited where students are not only refugees, orphans, but also first generation college students.
My wife, First Lady Racelder, led prayer and provided words of encouragement to students receiving full scholarships funded by United Methodists in Indiana.
During our trip we learned about current research being conducted on mosquitos that transmit malaria, and the first Institute for Peace, Governance, and Leadership that is also engaged in groundbreaking research. We saw first-hand how the Agriculture School and dairy farm are growing and in what ways they expect to be part of the solution to hunger in sub-Sahara Africa. We were encouraged to see the outstanding pastors, including recently elected Bishop Mande Muyombo, that are providing leadership for The United Methodist Church.
“Thank you, Indiana, for investing in young people in ways that create a better future for Africa, The United Methodist Church, and the world.”
Together We Are More. 

AU Development Office and Indiana United Methodist Conference
Bishop Julius C. Trimble

Council of Bishops – November 4-10

It is always a blessing to gather with United Methodist bishops from around the world for worship, daily prayer, learning, and leadership. To hear from bishops whose areas have been impacted by hurricanes, floods, violence and forest fires is a reminder that we are connected in ways that allow for creative and collaborative response. Our financial appeal and offering collected was directed to recovery and support for Puerto Rico.
The report from the Commission on a Way Forward was our primary focus.
The bishops were introduced to three sketches of models that could represent a Way Forward for the Church. The timeline calls for the Commission to meet at least three more times before the July 8, 2018deadline for petitions to the Special Session of General Conference. The conference will be held in St. Louis, February 23-26, 2019.
About the sketches of the models;

  • One sketch of a model affirms the current Book of Disciplinelanguage and places a high value on accountability.
  • Another model removes restrictive language and places a high value on contextualization. This sketch protects the rights of those whose conscience will not allow them to perform same gender weddings or ordain LGBTQ persons. 
  • A third sketch of a model is grounded in a unified core that includes shared doctrine, shared service and one Council of Bishops, while creating different branches that have clearly defined values that address accountability, contextualization, and justice. 

Contextualization speaks to the global nature of the Church and the diversity of beliefs and practices that currently exist in different areas and conferences.
Each sketch of a model represents values in the Council of Bishops and provides for a gracious way for those who feel called to exit from the denomination.
I believe that unity is a gift from the Triune God and Jesus invites us to abide in him (John 15) and prays for unity that is far deeper and wider than our understanding of connection (John 17).
I believe my consecration vows empower me to seek unity, guard the faith and exercise discipline. To that end, will you join me in a continued time of prayer for the Holy Spirit to guide our Church as we focus on the mission? Pray for the Commission on a Way Forward and our delegation from Indiana.
Join in opportunities for dialogue and learning. Anticipate before and during our 2018 Annual Conference, a space for sharing your hopes and dreams for The United Methodist Church.
Some questions we might ponder together are;

  • What is life giving about The United Methodist Church?
  • What do we want the world to know about how we handle our differences?
  • What is your dream for the witness of the 12 million plus who call The United Methodist Church their home?

I am not straying from my firm belief that unity is of God and we are to love God and neighbor.
Be encouraged,