February 27, 2019
Yesterday at the Special Session of General Conference the body voted to uphold the exclusionary language of the Discipline of the United Methodist Church rather than widen our welcome. It was painful to watch. Rather than choosing one of the more inclusive plans, 53% voted to continue to exclude our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered siblings from full participation in the life of the church.
As a Reconciling Congregation, we have committed to do just the opposite: open wide the doors to all God’s beloved children. This isn’t going to change. All are welcome to full participation in the life of our church without exception. All are welcome to worship, receive communion, serve God and neighbor and experience the grace and love of God. Tell your friends, your neighbors, your families. No matter what you hear on the news, our church is open to all.
I don’t know what the future will bring for our denomination or our Annual Conference. The Traditionalist Plan will be reviewed for constitutionality. The global church might divide, unite in new ways, or continue as we are. There are conversations happening now and there will be more in the days to come about how we move forward. May the Spirit blow, inspiring the people called Methodist to creatively and courageously choose compassion, welcome, and inclusion.
Whatever happens, Methodists right here in Osterville will continue to live out the mission and ministry of our church. We will gather for weekly worship and lift our voices in song and prayer. We will feed the hungry by stocking our food pantry and serving meals at the Miracle Kitchen, Faith Family Kitchen and Days of Hospitality. We will teach our children about the grace and love of God in Sunday School and by our witness. Human as we are, we will mess up and fall short, and seek, give, and receive forgiveness over and over and over again. We will care for one another, pray for one another, and seek to bear witness to the love of God in all that we do. We will follow Jesus, day by day, learning to love as he did.
If you have questions or concerns about what happened at General Conference, I’m here to listen. Stop by the office, or set up an appointment. We can meet for coffee or go for a walk. Join me next Thursday for Courageous Conversation with others from our district in Lincoln, RI. I’ll even give you a ride.
Whatever happens next for our denomination, choose love today. Let us reach out to our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered siblings with compassion and gentle welcome. Let’s listen for the Spirit and faithfully follow Jesus, love incarnate.
Remember, God loves you, and so do I.