In a surprising turn, the Special Called General Conference of The United Methodist Church of 2019 ended up tightening up the old wine skins, instead of making new wine skins. I think we are all still in a state of shock as the perceived understanding of this called conference was to make “A Way Forward” as we learned to be in ministry with people who are LGBTQI+. There are also many questions as the plan that was passed, “The Traditional Plan,” still seems to have many elements that are unconstitutional to our “Book of Discipline.” This plan was also passed unknowing the financial implications that may occur…there are still many questions that need to be answered in the coming days and months.
Although I am saddened because I feel we moved backwards instead of forwards, I do not feel defeated in my understanding of The United Methodist Church. I grew up in The United Methodist Church since birth. My entrance to the church was playing baby Jesus in the Christmas Nativity. This is the church that has raised me, loved me, and taught me what it means to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. These are the people who have laughed with me and rejoiced in the beautiful moments of life, and these are the people that have sat with me and cried with me in the difficult moments of life.
So I am not ready to give up on The United Methodist Church. I am now in my tenth year of serving in full-time ministry and this is still the church I love.
So I will not give up and I will continue to renounce “injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves” (UMC Baptismal Covenant, UMC Hymnal).
I still long to be part of a church that continues to extend Christ’s table to the world, a church that says that all people are welcome at the table…a church that recognizes that God’s calling on another person’s life cannot be debated.
So friends, I know there are many hurting, and for that I am sorry. Know that there are many people out there not willing to give up. There is hope for us yet.
Prayer: Welcoming God, still the chaotic seas of our hearts this evening. Make your presence known to us and offer us your peace. Calm our anxiety about the days and weeks to come as we live into a new normal. Give us strength and endurance as we continue to discern how to bring to fruition your kingdom on earth. May our tears this evening be the food that sustains us as we continue on this journey together. Thank you for offering us the hope of your resurrection today and always through our faith in your Son, Jesus Christ. And Lord, once again, help us to rise from the ashes into new life. Amen.