If you’re like us, the news of the results as well as the process of the General Conference that met this last week took our breath away… and not in a good way. We’d like to share some background and some initial thoughts.
General Conference Update
As we shared earlier this month, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church met this last week. The 864 delegates (half lay, half clergy) from all over the world met from Feb. 24-26 to discuss and act on issue of human sexuality. The body of delegates chose to pass the Traditional Plan (53% to 47%), which keeps the current language around sexuality and increases accountability by streamlining the processes to enforce penalties for violations of The Book of Discipline related to marriage and ordination of LGBTQI persons.
The process is ongoing. Even though the Traditional Plan passed, some parts of the it were ruled unconstitutional, and it will take some time to clarify which parts if any will become part of our church law and which parts will not. The legislation would not be the official church law until January 1, 2020.
What does this mean?
For the larger denomination, it is unclear. This is not over, and it is not fully settled. The legislation does not take effect immediately. Much will depend on the Judicial Council’s ruling. And so we wait. Also keep in mind any ruling from this General Conference meeting is not final... In fact, General Conference will meet again in 2020 with another opportunity to change our discipline. (The General Conference generally meets every four years, and 2020 would be it’s 4-year cycle)
What does this mean for Still Waters?
At Still Waters, rest assured, nothing about what happened at this General Conference will change our commitment to loving ALL of God’s people… no matter what. We continue to be the church of the dialogue, seeking to allow us to talk about such issues, and listen, and above all, to love. Our eyes will stay focused on our mission to Find the Lost, Release the Captive, and Develop Disciples. Our highest priority will always be to love God and love people with everything we have and to open wide the doors of hospitality and grace. We welcome all people and the only label that matters is beloved child of God.
If you would like more details or would like to be a part of more conversation, we have, for starters, scheduled some Still Waters General Conference Listening Sessions, where we'll share more information, and hear your questions, thoughts, hopes, and concerns.
In addition to coming to worship this weekend, where we will address these happenings, please feel free to come to one of the following sessions, or feel free to contact and meet with one of us as well.
- Sunday, March 3, 6:30 p.m.
- Monday, March 4, 6:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, March 5, 1:00 p.m.
In the days ahead, we will counsel with those who are struggling, we will pray with those in need of healing, and we will weep for the deep hurt that this has caused for so many people in our community and beyond. We will continue to be the church of the dialogue. And we will continue to operate from a place of love.
If you would like to read Bishop Jung's message to us, click this link.
Your Servants in Christ,
Pastor Lori Lossie
Pastor Andrew Jones