Yesterday (3 March), I shared in our worship services a prepared statement on the recently completed special called session of the General Conference. I have been asked to share it multiple times, so I am placing it here for those who wish to read it. For those who wish to watch it as I presented it to the people in the 9:30 service, you may see it HERE.
Statement on the General Conference
Most of you have heard the news that came out of this week’s special called session of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church. This session had been hoped to be one that would provide a way forward for all of us who desire to maintain a stance of open inclusiveness within our congregation, especially as it pertains to LGBTQIA persons. This is not the witness of big-tent Methodism that has been part of my life since childhood. What was sought was a way to share this house called Methodism. What was received was a house divided.
To you who are diverse in your beautiful, God-given sexuality, I come to you saying that I’m sorry for the way the church has treated you and then stood silently by as others mistreated you. To those who have been harmed by the hateful rhetoric … to those who have been treated as objects and not as beloved children of God … to those who parent children who are sexually diverse … to those who advocate and stand with LGBTQIA persons, as an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, I ask your forgiveness. You have had your very being treated as “an issue,” and your value as a beloved child of God has been called into question.
My pledge to you is that Wellspring is a safe place for you. We will stand together to advocate for justice and equality for all people. While there is still much that is not known about the work done this past week because of constitutional challenges yet to be decided, we are using today as a service that reflects both our sadness and our hope.
We have clergy and leaders within the church who are here for you. We have clergy (both appointed and retired) within our church family who are more than willing to provide a safe space for any who have been harmed … to give you a safe place to express your pain, your fears, and your hope in the days to come. We have those within our congregation who are trained and licensed counselors and coaches who also stand ready to provide a safe space for you. Please reach out to me or any other leader in the church with whom you feel comfortable, and we will stand with you during this difficult time.
My friends, you are loved and you are sacred … my heart breaks with yours. More than that, God’s heart breaks with yours. Please know that nothing is changed at Wellspring. No matter what our denomination says, we will not marginalize any of you here! We are still the church where “All are welcome, all are accepted.” When we say that, we always add … AND ALL MEANS ALL!
3 thoughts on “Pastor’s Statement on the General Conference”
Thank you. I was brought up Methodist, but have been atheist for 40 years. I was surprised recently to realize that the church I knew growing up had turned their backs on some people. I was told, “Well, it’s like a club. You know going in what the rules are.” I have never knowingly belonged to a club that discriminated against some people. I am appalled that this had to come to a vote in the UNITED Methist Church. All Means All.
Debbie, I regret the harm done by the Methodist Church and the many people who have been alienated by a focus that is so much less about the love of God and neighbor and based so much on petty moralism. There is no righting this ship, and we will have to find our way in something new. Thanks for sharing your experience.
Please forward me your August 29, 2019 article :
The Values of Radical Discipleship
I would like to send it to our minister who doesn’t want this issue discussed in the name of unity. Our church and staff has not been allowed to discuss the direction of our church openly. So sad and so hurtful to some of our Sunday Class members who are of the LBGTQ community.