The Commission on a Way Forward has their next meeting later this week, their first since releasing an interim report in November. That report laid out three possible structural models for addressing The United Methodist Church's long-standing debate over homosexuality. Even following that report, there are still many possible scenarios for a final recommendation to and response by the special called General Conference in 2019.
Yet as the Commission continues its work, others are also putting forward ideas that may affect which of these scenarios come to pass. Rev. Chris Ritter, for instance, has put forward what he calls a "Synthesis Model" or "Hybrid Way Forward," including proposed legislation. Rev. Rittter's model seeks to combine the three models mentioned by the Commission on a Way Forward in their report.
This mention of Rev. Ritter's model is not intended as a form of support for that model. Instead, I mention it as an example of how General Conference could end up adopting something other than what the bishops propose (response #4 on my list of possible responses by General Conference). There is not much precedent for General Conference adopting major restructure plans not backed by church leadership, but GC2019 will not be a typical General Conference.
Still, Rev. Ritter's model notwithstanding, all eyes remain on the Commission. UM & Global joins United Methodists around the world as we continue to pray for their work and await the bishops' final recommendation(s) based on that work.