Bishop Hagiya’s 2017 Thanksgiving Message

There is some relief, even joy, as I write this message to our California-Pacific Conference. You see, I am not writing in the midst of the latest world catastrophe, responding to some act of mindless violence, or grieving over the latest injustice. It seems like much of my recent correspondence to you has been in reaction to a tragedy or horrific event.

On the contrary, I am writing simply to say thank you, and to share my deep gratitude in the midst of this season of Thanksgiving. Like you, I have so much to be thankful for: a loving family, good friends, a passionate vocation, and the feeling that I am making a difference in our challenging world. Most of all, I am thankful for my faith, and the God who gives me everything – absolutely everything in the gift of life itself. Each moment that we are alive, we share in this gift of life from God who provides it merely because God loves us that much. We do not deserve this gift, but it is given anyway simply because God cares about us as God’s creatures.

So, my message is just to convey this deep thanksgiving in my heart and to remind you to thank God for all that is given us.  I hope and pray that I do not have to write my next message asking for prayers over the latest tragedy, even though this is not within our control.  Those messages are inevitable because life is fragile and uncertain.  And yet, there is something truly joyous about being able to share with you a simple thanksgiving for the gift of life.  Let us be reminded that we should always start with such gratitude, even in the midst of a world with pain and suffering.

Thanks be to God, always and everywhere!

Be the Hope,

Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
Los Angeles Episcopal Area
The United Methodist Church

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Update from Bishop Grant Hagiya

BishopGrantHagiya

Message on Judicial Council Decision No. 1431

Concerning the Election of Bishop Karen Oliveto

As you have probably already heard, the Judicial Council met this past week and released its ruling on the South Central Jurisdictional challenge to Bishop Karen Oliveto’s election as a Bishop in our Western Jurisdiction.

The decision came as a 19-page digest that is thick and technical in nature, with numerous points that are up for interpretation and without a clear and concise direction. I want to reiterate the fact that, contrary to the news headlines, the Judicial Council did not invalidate Bishop Oliveto’s nomination, election and assignment, none of which can be challenged by any other jurisdiction. Bishop Oliveto remains a Bishop in The United Methodist Church and is not required to step down. What the Judicial Council did rule was that Bishop Oliveto’s consecration is subject to examination.

I realize there will be many different responses to this ruling, and I can assure you that our Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops is working on a proactive strategy for the near future. Legal rulings usually create more questions than answers and this is how it seems to be in this case. What I want to emphasize to our California-Pacific Conference, and to the whole church, is that: “we must move forward.”

The ruling does maintain that Bishop Karen Oliveto remains a Bishop of the Mountain Sky Area of the Western Jurisdiction and we must all work together to move our church forward.

As a member of the Commission on the Way Forward, I put great hope in the process to which the Church has agreed and I pray that nothing will derail the Commission’s work because the Holy Spirit must be allowed to work with the Commission in coming up with some creative alternatives for the life of our church on this issue.

We may agree or disagree on the Judicial Council ruling. The California-Pacific Conference is one of diversity in many ways, including on this particular issue, and I am open to dialogue with you in hearing your concerns. But, my plea for us is that we trust the process and that we work together in moving forward in love and care, not allowing a legal ruling to bog us down and away from our mission as the Church.

My commitment is to pray for each of our laity, churches and clergy on this issue and others that confront you. I ask that you join me in prayer for the Church as we make our way ahead.

Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop
The United Methodist Church

A Blessed 2017 to All

2017 will undoubtedly bring challenges and disappointments.

And yet, we are assured by the words of scripture that the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot extinguish it. (John 1:5)

So, let us move forward, trusting in God and living courageously in faith. As Jesus assures us in John 16:33: “In the world you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world.”

May the blessings of God be with all of us throughout 2017 and beyond.

Join us for worship at 10:30 a.m. on the morning of New Year’s Day as we explore the theme, The End Is the Beginning, based on Matthew 25:31-46.