Dear Beloved Siblings of Christ at Mason United Methodist Church,
I write to you with a heavy heart. I'm sure many of you have heard the news of the actions taken at the Special General Conference of the United Methodist Church earlier today. The United Methodist Church, known as our denomination, as well as our decision-making connectional body, voted for the Traditionalist Plan -- a vote of 438 to 384.
Of the four plans that were put forward by the Commission on the Way Forward to move us through our conflict over human sexuality, the Traditionalist Plan retains, strengthens and enforces current prohibitions on same-sex marriage and gay ordination. This plan retains the status quo and invites annual conferences and local churches who disagree
with the restrictions and prohibitions to leave.
Both the Commission on the Way Forward and the Bishops recommended the One Church Plan, which offered unity in the midst of our differences. This plan was defeated in legislation and also defeated when it was brought forward as a minority report. This was largely due to certain conferences outside of the United States.
Sixty percent of the United Methodist Churches in the United States favored inclusion.
This is a step in the wrong direction. My heart aches and is simply broken by this decision. Our debate, deliberations, and decisions over these past four days caused pain and harm to many faithful and loving LGBTQIA+ clergy, neighbors, and friends.
There is still much to be sorted out as to what this means to the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference and to the United Methodist Churches. While we wait to hear from our Bishops and our Conference about next steps, our message of love and belonging has never been more important to speak and live as it is right now.
People who have been marginalized and discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity need to know they are loved. Because our denomination has said no to them, it is important they know that WE say yes, you are beloved and we care.
Beloveds, hear these words of promise: in the kin-dom of God, you are loved.
We continue our pursuit of a church that loves as Jesus loves; that offers a balm as Jesus did; and surrounds our souls
with biblical and gospel justice that creates disciples of Christ and transforms the world.
This is our Church. This is our Christ. This is our God.
I will continue to be available to talk to you throughout the week and at church on Sunday.
Please reach out by emailing me at email@example.com
and we can set up a time to chat, get a cup of coffee, talk on the phone, etc.
I will close this letter with what our Western Jurisdiction leaders said in an earlier statement:
“We have long appreciated the richness of the global diversity of our United Methodist Church and have embraced opportunities to join with you all in the work of making disciples for the transformation of the world.
We also understand the purpose of the Church to be in mission and ministry. Consequently, we in the West have been functioning for years as One Church committed to full inclusion, seeking to be a home for all God’s people.
Today we acknowledge the fracture of this body, yet we worship a God who tells us that the body of Christ has many parts,
all equally valued. Rooted in Wesleyan tradition, grounded in Scripture and committed to mission and ministry,
the Western Jurisdiction intends to continue to be one church, fully inclusive and open to all God’s children,
across the theological and social spectrum.
We know from experience we are stronger when we live together as progressives,
traditionalists and centrists in our Church. Many times during this Conference we have sung or prayed or
blessed each other with the reminder that we need each other. Thank you."
Grace and peace,