Special Message from Bishop Burgos - Mark Webb
January 4, 2023 / By Bishop Héctor A. Burgos Núñez
Editor's Note: On Jan. 4, 2023 the following letter was emailed to the Upper New York Conference.
“The Lord is our rock and our salvation. The Lord is our fortress, we will not be shaken.”
Psalm 62:6, par
Dear United Methodists of Upper New York,
Grace and peace from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, be with you.
On Tuesday Jan. 3, 2023, retired Bishop Mark Webb surrendered his credentials as an elder and bishop in the United Methodist Church. In a communication to the presidents of the Council of Bishops and the Northeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops, Bishop Webb stated that he was received as an elder in the Global Methodist Church, where he will serve as an active bishop.
I am always deeply saddened when someone, whether clergy or lay, leaves our denomination. However, I honor their discernment and send them with God’s peace as they take the next steps in their journey as disciples of Jesus Christ. Therefore, I invite you to offer Bishop Webb and his family God’s peace during this transition.
As your resident bishop, I envision a diverse Upper New York Conference that is united in our shared mission of transforming the world as we nurture disciples of Jesus Christ that share faith, love, mercy, and justice in their communities and the world. A spirit-filled network of disciples and congregations that honor and celebrate our diversity, in all its facets, as a gift from God.
In our short time together, I have been blessed to journey alongside you and witnessed firsthand how you live into this way of being the church. The Upper New York Conference is a strong network of 825 congregations comprised of more than 140,000 disciples that are living out their faith in the Wesleyan Way. On any given Sunday, United Methodists in Upper New York worship the Risen Christ in more than 10 languages in various formats and styles. UNY congregations, led by the Holy Spirit, some as small as 10 active members and others as large as 2,000 members, faithfully serve in urban, suburban, rural towns and inner cities.
As United Methodists in Upper New York, together, we are,
- Living the gospel and sharing Christ with our neighbors in all places.
- Planting New Faith Communities that engage new and different people.
- Helping people experiencing poverty and hunger through food pantries and clothing closets
- Responding to natural disasters, locally and throughout the region, bringing hope to those in need.
- Working to eradicate the sin of racism from the Church and society.
- Empowering a new generation of disciples and spiritual leaders, and
- Supporting life-giving initiatives through our missions around the globe and more.
The Upper New York Conference is also blessed with a rich theological diversity that embraces conservatives, evangelicals, centrists, and progressives, all as beloved children of God.
In this season of disagreement and divisions in our denomination about ministry with and by LGBTQIA+ persons, United Methodists in Upper New York stand as a witness of missional unity. Amid our diversity, UNY seeks to remain focused on loving God and loving our neighbors - encouraging one another to thrive in life and ministry.
As we move forward, the Cabinet and I will continue,
- Seeing and welcoming all people and inviting them to experience the love of Christ in their lives.
- Celebrating our rich diversity as a precious gift from God.
- Acknowledging UNY leaders’ and congregations’ theological beliefs around ministry with and by LGBTQIA+ persons.
- Promoting a vision of missional unity that is Christ-centered and that transcends our disagreements, and
- Resourcing leaders and congregations to thrive in ministry.
Whether you identify as a conservative, centrist, or progressive, be assured that you are valued and that there will always be a place for you in The United Methodist Church and the Upper New York Conference – we and the mission are better and stronger TOGETHER.
In the coming weeks, I will be conversing with UNY clergy and laity leaders to learn more about your hopes for the future and ways we can continue strengthening our ministry together. You can read more about dates, times, and locations here.
During these challenging times, may the peace of God guard our hearts, the grace of Christ strengthen our hope, and the Holy Spirit lead us as we continue living the gospel and being God’s love with our neighbors in all places.
Bishop Héctor A. Burgos Núñez
Upper New York Area