An open letter sent to the local churches and members by a bishop of the church. From time to time, the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church has issued a pastoral letter on a matter of great importance. This is sent throughout the church with the request that it be read and studied in all local churches. Individual bishops may send a pastoral letter for the churches in the Annual Conference or Conferences of their episcopal area.
Source: A Dictionary for United Methodists, Alan K. Waltz, Copyright 1991, Abingdon Press. Used by permission.