Early Sunday morning, I plan to fly to St. Louis, MO to attend the Special General Conference of the United Methodist Church. There are 864 elected clergy and lay delegates from around the world who will act upon a report of the Commission on the Way Forward. At the heart of the gathering is the matter of full inclusion and equality for our LGBTQI brothers and sisters and how we will love them as the children of God that they are. Click to read about the various plans being put forward—The One Church Plan, The Connectional Conference Plan, The Simple Plan, and The Traditional Plan.
As it currently stands, the official United Methodist policy is that “…homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” Therefore, ordained clergy are prohibited from officiating same-sex weddings, and “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” are forbidden from ordination.
Needless to say, there is anxiety everywhere and extreme differences of opinion as many fear that a denominational split is inevitable. While I am hopeful that this will not be the case, such a split does not seem nearly as daunting as our lack of being fully inclusive, fully loving. As a person whose roots and history are indelibly linked to those who have been left out and marginalized just because, I am in full support of celebrating each human being as the child of God they were created to be.
Though I’m not am not an elected delegate, I am attending the conference because I want to register my presence among those who are committed to loving others without distinction, to represent our wonderful Park Avenue United Methodist Church, and to offer support however I can.
Our Bishop has asked for our prayers, and I also ask you to pray that the Spirit will guide us all. Whatever happens, I am confident that we—the members and friends of PAUMC—will be just fine, for love is at our core. I have never been more grateful for our shared journey and to be your pastor.
Grace and peace,