October 2018 Letter sent to the congregation
Dear Friends in Christ:
As some of you may know, the United Methodist denomination will be having a special General Conference in February 2019 to specifically address questions regarding the LGBTQ community and the church. General Conference is the policy-making body of our denomination. We have been at an impasse regarding policies related to the full inclusion of LGBTQ individuals because Methodists have such polarized ideas about homosexuality, gay marriage, and gay ordination.
Because of this impasse, the Council of Bishops created a Commission to review the situation and come up with proposals for how the denomination might move forward on this topic. The Commission on A Way Forward Commission has submitted three proposals for the 2019 General Conference to discuss and vote on as we attempt to move beyond our differences.
Whatever decision is made at the General Conference, it will have a lasting impact on our denomination. Possible outcomes include splitting the denomination or giving more control over to individual churches and conferences. Each United Methodist Church, including ours, will have decisions to make once the General Conference is over.
Because this is such an important event, I have scheduled three learning sessions to help you understand what is going on. Each session will have a specific topic, and you are encouraged to attend whichever ones interest you.
Wednesday, October 24, 5:30-6:30pm, at Green Wood:
What is General Conference and how does it work?
Wednesday, November 7, 5:30-6:30pm, at Green Wood:
How did we get to this impasse?
Wednesday, November 14, 5:30-6:30pm, at Green Wood:
What are the proposals going to GC?
Even more importantly, our bishop, Bishop David Alan Bard, will be at our church Thursday, November 29 at 7:00pm in our downtown Sanctuary to discuss and answer questions about this. Bishop Bard is having conversations across the state with concerned Methodists and has accepted our invitation to hold one of those conversations in our sanctuary. Everyone from our church is encouraged to attend, and there will be members from other area churches there, as well.
As a congregation who has intentionally welcomed the LGBTQ community since 2007, this is a very important time for us to be well-informed about the legislative process and articulate about our beliefs. Please join us for one or all of the learning sessions and, especially, for Bishop Bard’s visit.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Nancy S. Lynn
Links to additional reading: