I know many of you have heard the news from the United Methodist General Conference in St. Louis that concluded yesterday. I want to offer my perspective on what was decided.
If you haven’t heard, a special session of General Conference was convened to discuss our denomination’s stance around our matters of inclusion of LBGTQ persons in the Church and how we might proceed forward together as a denomination. The Council of Bishops recommended a One Church Plan, also known as “a local option.” A Traditional plan was also presented. The Conference approved a modified Traditional Plan that basically maintains the standards that we have held and attempts to add some processes of accountability to those standards. I have read some of the articles and headlines this morning that predict a split or fracturing of the denomination. The One Church Plan that was recommended by the Council of Bishops was not approved. This plan was touted as the way to keep our Church together. I think that was always misleading. No one plan was going to make everyone happy.
I believe the passing of the Traditional Plan is a good thing for the Church. I do not believe, as some are suggesting, that United Methodists hate LGBTQ people.
Ultimately I believe trying to obey God’s will in all areas of our lives is the most loving thing to be and do. I say this as one who knows and cares about persons who struggle with same-sex attraction.
I am writing specifically to our congregation at Hicks Church and encouraging us to strive to be a loving and faithful community in Christ, which is what we have always tried to be. Our doors are still open to everyone. If there are specific ways that we can improve our community let’s talk about that. And I guess that is the most important thing I want to say – we are a family. And when families have important things before them, they talk about them. They don’t just leave.
If your heart is burdened this morning in any way over this news, please talk to me about it. I promise to listen and give what counsel I can.