Rev. Dr. Ted Campbell was the speaker at the Plenary Session on Thursday afternoon. He is a well-known authority on Christian history and a sought-after speaker on Wesleyan and Christian communities. Ted began his “Ted Talk” by describing the Methodist desire for unity and the belief that unity and diversity can harmoniously co-exist. Today, many United Methodists, particularly in the U.S., question that belief as they strain for unity around the issue of human sexuality.
He described the principle of “unity in essentials, diversity in non-essentials” and the current struggle to determine what is essential and what is non-essential. What must United Methodists agree on to remain in connection and what divisive issues are so compelling that we can no longer remain bound together.
Ted offered “some insights about unity in the faith, insights that come from listening to our ancestors in the faith, from listening to Wesleyan communities today, from listening to others: to other Christian communities and perhaps to some interesting persons who have only recently become Wesleyan Christians and who may be gifted with privileged insights into our unity in the faith.”
In conclusion, he shared that for the United Methodist Church the question may not be if we divide but how we do it. Ted asked the World Methodist Conference “for prayers, for your counsel, and for your help.”