Calendar Item 186

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The Petition is adopted as amended as follows:
Amend the Preamble to Part IV, Social Principles, as follows:
We, the people called United Methodists, affirm our faith in God our Creator and Father, in Jesus Christ our Savior, and in the Holy Spirit, our Guide and Guard.
We acknowledge our complete dependence upon God in birth, in life, in death, and in life eternal. Secure in God’s love, we affirm the goodness of life and confess our many sins against God’s will for us as we find it in Jesus Christ. We have not always been faithful stewards of all that has been committed to us by God the Creator. We have been reluctant followers of Jesus Christ in his mission to bring all persons into a community of love. Though called by the Holy Spirit to become new creatures in Christ, we have resisted the further call to become the people of God in our dealings with each other and the earth on which we live.
We pledge to continue to be in respectful conversation with those with whom we differ, to explore the sources of our differences and to honor the sacred worth of all persons as we continue to seek the mind of Christ and do the will of God in all things.
We acknowledge that, because it is a living body of believers gathered together by God from many diverse segments of the human community, unanimity of belief, opinion, and practice has never been characteristic of the Church from the beginning to this day. From its earliest time, as evidenced in the accounts of the Acts of the Apostles, in the Letters of Paul and other apostles, and in the witness of the people. We commit ourselves to stand united in declaring our faith that God’s  
Gospels, diversity of understanding and controversy with regard to many matters has been the reality. Therefore, whenever significant differences of opinion among faithful Christians occur, some of which continue to divide the church deeply today, neither surprise nor dismay should be allowed to separate the members of the Body from one another; nor should those differences be covered over with false claims of consensus or unanimity. To the contrary, such conflict must be embraced with courage and perseverance as all together continue to seek to discern God’s will. In that understanding and commitment, we pledge ourselves to acknowledge and to embrace with courage, trust, and hope those controversies which arise among us, accepting them as evidence that God is not yet finished in sculpting us to be God’s grace is available to all, that neither belief nor practice can separate us from the love of God. In that confidence, we pledge to continue to be in respectful dialogue with those with whom we disagree, to explore the sources of our differences, to honor the sacred worth of all persons, and to tell the truth about our divisions as we continue to seek the mind of Christ and to do the will of God in all things.
Grateful for God’s forgiving love, in which we live and by which we are judged, and affirming our belief in the inestimable worth of each individual, we renew our commitment to become faithful witnesses to the gospel, not alone to the ends of the earth, but also to the depths of our common life and work.