NPUC President's Response to Annual Council

October 13, 2016 | John Freedman

This week's Annual Council meetings for the world church included a highly anticipated vote on matters of church governance and unity. The document finally approved by a 169 to 122 vote is linked here. A summary report from the North American Division is also online. As opinions continue to rage about this vote and the implications for church unity and diversity, North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) President, John Freedman, shares this brief message to Northwest members.

Dear Friends,

Annual Council 2016 and its intense discussion over church governance and unity is over — for now.

My heartfelt thanks to our members who joined in a special day of prayer and fasting on Tuesday.

Your prayers did not go unanswered. The concerns many of us have in North America were shared by numerous leaders from around the world church. Honest conversations and respectful attitudes were evident throughout the meeting.

There is still much to pray about. The vote of the Annual Council provides for a period of ongoing dialog about world church governance. It gives us an opportunity for enhanced understanding. As I continue the discussion with our Northwest leaders and lay members of all ages, I welcome your prayers and thoughtful input. We will work to maintain unity on our world church mission, while preserving the unique and historic role of union conferences in managing that mission within each respective region. I believe God is able to turn every one of our present difficulties into a blessing. 

And although this vote was not specifically about the issue of women’s roles in pastoral ministry, I want to reaffirm our Northwest women who are serving as church pastors. The NPUC is committed to supporting and validating your call as we move forward.

In reality, nothing on earth is able to bring the true unity in diversity that we seek. Perhaps our current struggles are really a call to prayer. Imagine what God could do if we prayed together as one church family for our greatest need — a spiritual revival brought about by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which comes only in answer to prayer.

Keep looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ever ask or think. We must continue to lift Him up in our words, actions and attitudes.